SOUTH STREET by William Gardner Smith


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Philadelphia's South Street provides the scene for a novel which has for a subject the inter-racial contacts and strains that were the meat of Mr. Smith's Last of the Conquerors (Reviewed on p. 269, June 1, 1948 Bulletin). The various pathways of the figures who make up the Negro community emerge -- the Blues Singer, Lil, whose anger led her to live off men and finally murder when her true loyalties were roused; the Bowers brothers who had pledged to avenge their father's death by actively hating whites -- Michael the desperate one, Philip the dreamer, Claude the famous one whose people plague him as much as the more threatening whites when he marries Kristin a white girl and a musician. The love of Claude and Kristin faces pressures impossible to withstand -- still loving one another, they part -- Claude to work for his people, Kristin to play her violin. Tenderness and violence commingle in a novel with some measure of force in its characters and its relentless portrayal of individuals caught up in group conflicts.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1954
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young