EUBEN, REUBEN by Peter De Vries
Kirkus Star


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Peter De Vries' very entertaining eighth novel is devoted to proving the following hypothesis: ""Given a little money, education and social standing, plus of course the necessary leisure, any man with any style at all can make a mess of his love life"". The author of these remarks is Frank Spofford, 64, a semi-retired chicken farmer (or poultry rancher, as they would have it in his part of the country). He finds himself an almost displaced person in his town of Woodsmoke, Fairfield County, having lived there all his life, unlike most of its inhabitants. More than a third of the book is Spofford's journal recording his experiences as a bridge between the worlds of the natives and the commuters. After Spofford has meddled in so many places as to be considered a general nuisance, possibly a dirty old man, the book's emphasis switches to Gowan McGland, a Welsh poet, and Alvin Mopworth, his sometime crony and would-be biographer. McGland, a notorious Don Juan, eventually kills himself, having first been rendered toothless by a jealous husband who happened to be a dentist. And Mopworth, in an age where nothing is as it seems, must forever contend with his homosexual reputation, acquired because of his overanxious interest in women. All of this is very amusing even if certain identities are now so hackneyed as to be almost beyond satire. Reuben, Reuben is one of those momentarily delightful books, easy to read, easy to forget.

Pub Date: Feb. 17th, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown