SEARCH FOR A KEY by Walter Duranty


Email this review


This has so many of the earmarks of autobiography that one forgets it is supposedly the fictional story of another newspaper man, one Oliver Joby, Englishman, and not Walter Duranty. The making of a correspondent follows a tortuous route:- Oliver is orphaned at ten, brought up by an eccentric old uncle who collected china and taught him the art and skill; he is educated at the best English schools -- and then left to shift for himself. He choses journalism -- is a complete flop and turns to his known skill in selecting fine porcelains; he is injured on the eve of the first world war, takes to opium and does his ""confessions"", breaks himself of it, falls in love with the bewitching White Russian, Marie Lvovna, but chooses a postponement of marriage while he goes into new danger zones -- and loses her, when she finds that her ""dead"" husband is alive, and returns to nurse him. Joby becomes a roving reporter -- we follow the world theatre of a new war in the making. And -- at the close -- after years of separation -- he goes back to her, finds her, -- self put to one side, in devotion to the maimed minds and bodies of her husband and others like him. He declares his love. And the text ends, leaving their problems unresolved -- war ahead. Thoroughly readable -- but hardly a novel.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster