MACKEREL PLAZA by Peter De Vries


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The Tunnel of Love and Comfort Me with Apples are related to this through situations getting out of hand, and have a further identification in that all three place their male narrators in uncomfortable impasses. Here it is a widower, the Reverend Andrew Mackerel (who suffers under ""Holy Mackerel""), whose dead wife is achieving town sainthood, and who is the target for Molly Calico's attentions and the ministrations of his sister-in-law, Hester, both accomplished strategists for what they want. Mackerel's People's Liberal Church (split level and catering to hand-to-mouth luxury) must be considered as he pursues Molly who, in turn, does have other interests; while he is countermanded by meek to adamant Hester; and as he airs his view that ""people never believe in the hand of God until they get the back of it"". . . . And he does, through losing his faith, his pulpit, and Molly -- to gain Hester and her humane outlook. A derobing attitude, an undressing eye, mockery combined with self mockery, and the wry cliche for socio-sexual (and here religious) posturings -- De Vries has polished his specialties to a point of -- perhaps an unpredictable kind of amusement.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1958
Publisher: Little, Brown