THE TRAIN IN THE MEADOW by Robert Nathan

THE TRAIN IN THE MEADOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tenuous and contrived tale, in what might be described as a contemporary version of Outward Bound. While in outline it parallels many of the symbolic values of that poignant fantasy, it lacks the subtle interplay of wit and satire with deeper qualities of emotion fraught with passion. The people in Nathan's eternity bound train are two dimensional types:-the refuges couple who were losing everything a second time; the blustering salesman whose record held its blots but who hoped to meet his wife and daughter; the blowsy waitress who'd been no better than the next one; the lonely Mrs. Elder; the priest who thought he knew the answers but cloaked a deeper sense of sin; the ex-president who hoped he was getting away from politics. In the figure of Tod, from an orphan asylum, terrified because he had no papers, Nathan has tried to capture the reader's sympathy, but his brief romantic idyll with Beth, earthbound, who gives him her passport though it means losing the security on earth, shifts sympathy away from him. Nathan has used this tale as a vehicle for often barbed comments on our world, but somehow he has never made either his philosophy or his characters significant.

Publisher: Knopf