THE SUNDOWNERS by Ward Dorrance


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A novel which falls into the autobiography -- cum-way-of-life class, and is hard to classify for sales. I found it delightful reading -- but could have wished it had been issued as straight autobiography in the Lanterns on the Levee school. (It is less wistfully nostalgic, more hard headed, but equally a contribution to American folkways.) In the story of Noel Deslaurler (known to the community as one of the Shelleys, through his mother and his grandfather), one comes to feel almost part of the life of a Missouri plantation a generation age, of a leisurely philosophy of life which put a pattern of work and play, of fishing and coon and possum hunting, of horses and dogs above the push of ambition to ""be something"". There's the grandfather, Mr. Joseph, a grand figure; there's his wife, Miss Milly, and Noel's mother, Miss Julia; there are the colored people who are identified with the family, particularly Nabob, who was Noal's pal and tutor in the ways of ""menfolk"". Noel has it all in his blood and bones and his attempt to break away and carve a city life for himself in St. Louis is abortive. He comes back to the shiftless but real Ratcliffs, and to the girl he loves. Well done in its class -- but not a full bodied novel.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1942
Publisher: Scribner