AWAKE TO DARKNESS by Richard McMullen


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Jud is seven when the story begins; he is killed by a shot in a joint when he picks a drunken quarrel with a soldier on the eve of his post-drafting leave. The years between recount the deterioration of a man -- poor white, from a Tobacco Road background, down in Georgia. It is not pleasant reading, Jud and his sister, Hope, get by on the thin edge of graft, chiseling, bumming, pimping, whoring; each has a glimmer of a better self-as when Jud actually marries Fortuna, who gave up everything she might have had for him, and when Hope tries to reestablish their marriage on some plane of responsibility, though marriage, she feels, isn't in her line (until gangsters beat her up for blocking their game). It is honest story telling- not a social document. Only implicit in the content is a charge to the society that allows such lives to be. The characters ring true- the dialogue and pace of story keep one reading -- the sum total marks a writer in the Faulkner tradition, worth watching. But it is not for the tender-skinned, the fastidious- not even for those who want pleasant entertainment.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1947
Publisher: Farrar, Straus