THE UMBRELLA THORN by Peter de Polnay


Email this review


The soundest book he has done, with none of the self-conscious sophistication of his earlier books, but again- and in full measure- the gifts of irony, of subtlety, of interpretation which is as clearsighted as it is uncharitable. The story is set in the highlands of Kenya where the static, isolated life encourages individual idiosyncrasy, eccentricity. In particular, it concerns David McKenna and Gloria Wace; Gloria, who on giving birth to a child, loses at the same time her husband, ineffectual Miles who leaves her with a rundown, mortaged farm and an accumulation of debts. McKenna, rich, successful, but a thoughtful, lonely man, assumes the obligation of Miles' debts and Miles' wife, eventually marries her as there is no other solution for her. Worthless, shiftless, indifferent to McKenna, to the child-David- whom she neglects, Gloria makes only a faint attempt at being a wife to McKenna. McKenna, who expects as little as he receives, finds some recompense in his love for the child... This, which has had an excellent press in England, should find a fastidious following here.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1947
Publisher: Creative Age