THE LOST BOY by Stead Jones


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The standard fictional portrait of suburban folkways ought to halt city dwellers in their over-taxed hovels. Never mind that this one is in England, our readers have been to this new country club, looked behind the walls of these new upper-income houses, and have watched this sort of average man through his last crisis of conscience before. Bart Davies leased his Welsh soul to his wife's uncle, who owns the company where Bart is boss in name only. Bart earned the job by looking the other way when the salacious old man fondled Bart's wife, who considered every sly pat, pinch, and tweak as so much pounds, shillings and pence. Bart's finer clay doesn't crack until the teen-aged son they'd had raised by Bart's sister is in trouble. The boy's delinquency, incarceration and escape returns Bart to the chapel verities; he begins to burn himself out in his pursuit of the runaway boy--out of the country club, out of his sinecure, and out of his marriage--unmasking the obvious frauds with familiar abandon. Along the way, he visits with an old Army buddy who presides over a family that is a throwback to the standards of English mid-cult current before WWI. These eccentric originals, none fully realized, nevertheless serve briefly as a necessary contrast to the predictable dreariness of yet another misplaced suburbanite propelling himself toward the inevitable slum--his cemetery.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday