ONE WINTER IN BOSTON by Robert Smith

ONE WINTER IN BOSTON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A cynical success story, with Emerson Balzer as our candidate for the heel of the new season. The setting is Boston during the depression, and the story concerns Emerson's struggle first to get a job, then to be the success he pretends to be. Without the drive or ability to be purposefully unscrupulous, he uses a supposed college background, suave good looks, degrading hypocrisy, to get a temporary department store job. There he meets Mary, similar in background, who helps him and gives him money. He bluffs his way socially- and in the job takes part in petty thievery through his new friend, Cuykendall. Then, when he loses his job, he covers himself by going back as a detective, squeals on Cuykendall, and allows his old friend, Lester, to be falsely involved. This coup finishes his business initiation and gives him a leg up the ladder of success, where Mary would prove a drawback and is ruthlessly left behind. While lacking the hard-working ambition of that other heel, Sammy, there is something of the depressing realism of What Makes Sammy Run. Well written, with a deftness in dialogue, an ability to evoke the coon skin coat, bootleg era, while focussing on a cast of despicable though pitiful characters.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1949
Publisher: Simon & Schuster