THE CHOSEN PLACE, THE TIMELESS PEOPLE by Paule Marshall

THE CHOSEN PLACE, THE TIMELESS PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mrs. Marshall has written about racial identity struggles and West Indian life before (Brown Girl, Brownstones, 1959; Soul Clap Hands and Sing, 1960) and in displaying men and mores therein she obviously knows whereof she speaks. However, the central inner drama, concerning changes in the lives of three Americans When a non-governmental aid program is attempted on the small island of ""Bourne,"" is a pallid, predictable and long-winded affair. In spite of the author's admirable distaste for color charts in grading humanity, her whites are as stylized as characters in Restoration comedies. There is Saul, Jewish, of the Sensitive sort--lovable, sorrowful, empathetic, and he looks Jewish. His wife Harriet, a Main Line WASP with hair that always falls into place, comes apart in colorful Bourne, and commits suicide. Allen is a ""statistical"" aide, an Italian-Catholic who hated his parents and can't make it with women. Confidant at one time or another to Saul and Allen is Merle, whose past encompassed her mother's murder, an education in England, an exploitative Lesbian relationship, marriage and a child by an African who left her, and a sense of the need of the people of the Island to demand an end to their colonial burdens. Saul's growing understanding of ethnic destiny and his love for Merle hold a promise of fulfillment. Sensitive backdrop for some rather tiresome prime figures.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1969
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World