THOSE OTHER PEOPLE by Mary King O'Donnell


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This is a very different sort of book from her earlier, Quincy Bolliver (1941) which was a story of the Texas oil wells. Manhattan Transfer technique is here applied to a twenty-four hour span in New Orleans French Quarter, where negro slums rub elbows with the remodelled dwellings occupied by the owners of the slums. Lives of young and old, those in comfortable circumstances and beggars, ignorant and mediocre intelligence and scholars create conflicts which tangle their lives. A tenuous thread of romance spine the episodes and characters together, as Leah, a spinster of 40, sets out to find the sailor, Joe, with whom she'd spent a night in talk. Of course no one believes it was only talk -- and Leah is blocked at every turn, but Joe too is seeking, and the story ends at one the next morning, with Leah and Joe together again. The story trails through the streets and market places, bars, bordellos, parks and houses, in and out of the homes in St. Philip Street, where Negro, Italian, American work out their pattern of living. There's a blind woman and a mad man, who thinks himself Hitler's agent, there are incidents that change lives. An interesting experiment -- which somehow fails to hold the interest.

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1945
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin