THE LOOKING GLASS by William March


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A cross-sectioning of Southern life, 1900-1917, with emphasis on white problems and the origins of destruction as the lives of several families cross and recross in intricate patterning. With the focus on one night, the whole past is revealed; Dr. Snowfield's obsession about colored blood and his means of retaliation by performing an abortion on Clarry Palmiller with unsterile instruments; Ira Graley's revenge on his mother and emergence from haunted bastardy to fame as a specialist in mental diseases; Honey Boutwell's lurid career, ending as a worldwide popular Negro singer, her white ancestry denied by her followers; the brilliance and disdain of Palmiller's son, driven to suicide at twelve; the love affair of his wife and his acknowledgement of the child of that affair; young Breck Boutell's hatred of the Palmillers and his use of Clarry for that vengeance; Clarry's death as terrible retribution for her father's adoration; the Goodwife's painful return to sanity...All this is interwoven into a close textured, psycho-pathological portrait gallery that combines the group treatment of Company K, the emotional impact of The Tallons, and the penetration of his short stories.

Publisher: Little, Brown