THE LOVELY AWFUL THING by Maurice Rickards


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This book was published in England, where it apparently received good reviews, not only because of its startling subject but also for its ""brilliant"" writing. It is hard to see why. The first half is concerned with the Impressions of a Young Man sitting on a cliff above a beach, and is nearly impossible to read. A number of related words and notions are thrown together, but they do not necessarily add up to an impression, particularly when there is no frame of reference nor a single really vivid image or idea. Eventually, but not soon enough, the young man sees a foot on the beach, climbs down toward it, discovers that it belongs to a drowned young woman, attempts to resuscitate her, and failing that, makes love to her. The scene does indeed have a certain macabre beauty- but this is almost instantly dissipated in a swirl of justifying mysticism. ""Lovely and awful"" if it is, why can't the author express this with a reasonable forth-rightness. Even necrophilia is less objectionable than the pretentious prose which shrouds a suspect incident.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1960
Publisher: Putnam-New Authors Guild