THE COMMON THREAD by Michael Seide


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Surprise ending technique, a certain simplicity and sparseness of style give this collection of Brooklyn sidewalk adolescent tales a distinction. And yet it is difficult to put the finger on a possible market for it. Jewish background -- but not in the sense of tales in the vernacular; rather are they stories of calf love, of disillusionment, of the ragged edge of abject poverty, of unemployment, of family loyalties. A few main figures appear and reappear: -- Joe Bellinson, who tells some of the stories in the first person, appears in others, with his sister Helen; there are Leo and Phil, brothers, who try to step out of the family pattern -- and fall; there is Sam, chum of Joe's, who sanctifies the memory of his troublesome younger brother Louie, who died young. There is a touch of O. Henry in the understanding of the herd, but the stories lack the pathos and the humor that saved O. Henry from bathos.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1943
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace