THE STONES OF THE HOUSE by Theodore Morrison
Kirkus Star


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Eminently readable, this is a perceptive study of a man at a crossroads of life; that he happens to be Acting President of a New England college and human enough to hope to be named President, while at the same time striving to reach decisions independent of that hope, provides a vehicle for the story rather than the plot itself. It is an oddly moving book, somehow reaching at the heart and mind through characters that ring true. There's a sly barb aimed at very human frailities now and again -- and a compassionate understanding that takes out the sting. Andrew Aiken has a lot to meet in the months the book compasses:- a classmate, rich, Babbity, superficial, injects an issue over Fraternity Row, which Aiken combats despite the threat to his hopes; two professors create problems, the one a self-conscious Jew, with chip on the shoulder, the other an unbalanced genius of sorts, with a hate campaign of his own; a boy dies in Korea and another boy is killed in a motor crash up. And yet, while melodrama might have grown out of these issues, they are handled in civilized, thoughtful fashion, and make their contribution to the reader's knowing of Andrew as he meets them. The background of the college, the crosswires of personalities and ambitions and pettinesses, the fringe impression of the community provide an adult counterpoint, in no way dependent on the elements too often injected into novels of this genre. But what comes through as relief from much in our modern novels is a sincere belief that doing good does good.

Publisher: Viking