THE SUN DIAL by Richard Austin Smith
Kirkus Star


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This is a hauntingly lovely book. At times it is lush and overwritten; at times it is elusive, eliptical, again it is almost melodramatic, sometimes -- for a moment -- straight adventure. It has fascination, though one finishes it with a feeling that the author hasn't quite got his subject into focus, that later he will do a better book, but that meantime, here is a discovery. It is the story of Soren, who had the see in his veins and nerves. He tries to escape -- his escape ends in tragedy that darkens his days. He returns to the sea, and for twenty years experiences the life of the tradelanes, chiefly in South American waters. There the first World War catches up with him -- and there follows a mad race for nitrates, for first place in the line for world trade. Then blockade in Denmark, escape from that to service, English and American. And finally retirement, only to go to a Viking's death in a dramatic, almost incredible last scene. A good story, uneven in the telling -- and a memorable book.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1942
Publisher: Knopf