AN EARLY GRAVE by Wallace Markfield


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public relations writer in his forties gropes for meaning among his Manhattan fellows in this moving and witty novel. Amid the high-colored group of minor literati in the Village, Morroe had appeared as a bumbler slated for hnook- rather than-sainthood. The literary gems of Levine, the perceptions of Weiner, the volk pronouncements of der alte Ottensteen, the creative spirals of Leslie and the queenly disarray of Inez, Leslie's wife, formed the core of harmed existence which fevered Morroe even after moving uptown. A frantic call from Inez reporting Leslie's death brings the old restlessness and Morroe volunteers to round up the gang. Levine's Volkswagon is the tiny vehicle which brings Weiner, Ottensteen and Morroe to Brooklyn for the funeral. En route, brotherhood blooms amid raillery, joyful obscenities and a fistfight, but when strange face appears in the coffin at the funeral, the brothers turn on Morroe, efficient corrections are made and the mourners arrive at the right funeral. orroe wanders among the graves weighted with a pretzel basket, and returns home, wash in self-sorrow and bitterness, to weep. Amid the hilarity, high spirits nd deflated pretensions, this portrait of a lonely face in a lonely crowd is touching and real.

Publisher: imon & Schuster