NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART by Richard Llewellyn


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A second novel, following a spectacular success like How Green Was My Valley, is certain of two things, -- a quick sale, on the basis of the name of the author; a suspiciously critical approach on the part of the book people. None But The Lonely Heart bears witness to one important fact -- Llewellyn is not going to be a one-book or a two-book man, he isn't going to fall for the temptation of writing in the groove, even if it is expected of him by ""his public"", and he can write in the idiom of his characters. People generally are not going to like the new book. Ernie Mott is a pathetic little twirp, a Cockney with adolescent preoccupation with matters of sex, pretentions towards a career as an artist following the footsteps of his dead father, and a general groping towards pretending to be practically anything but what he is. It is a sordid story, the story of crime, petty and on the verge of being on the grander scale, of Ada of the Fun Fair, who went out with Ernie without knowing his name; of quick money boys, small time gangsters, of the neighbors -- and chiefly of Ernie's mother, who ran a second hand furniture shop, kept Ernie in small change, because she feared his likeness to his father -- and splurged when she found he'd thrown all that out the window. The police play their part, running down one kind of evidence they find another, and Ma pays the price her son escapes -- leaving him to fend for himself in an unfriendly world. There is near pathos, but Llewellyn hasn't quite the faculty that Dickens had for making murky characters and sordid characters emotionally moving. The Cockney lingo, the squalor of London's slums lack the glamor of the Welsh countryside.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1943
Publisher: Macmillan