1949 was not a particularly good year for novels.
The best of the lot is a holdover from the 1948 bestseller list, Dinner at Antoine’s by Frances Parkinson Keyes.
The book, like all Keyes’ work, has a clever but plausible plot developed through memorable characters. And she writes well enough that her novels can be reread with pleasure.
Point of No Return by John P. Marquand is a better novel than Dinner at Antoine’s, but the elements that make it better from a literary standpoint make it less entertaining.
Marquand’s lead character, Charles Gray, is a solid, respectable, reliable banker, as dull as his name. Marquand tells how Charles almost stepped out of character once in his life.
That almost does Marquand in. A few months later, all I remembered was that the writing was wonderful. I couldn’t remember the character or plot at all.
The other books from the 1949 bestseller list are not worth picking up. Fortunately, there is some great reading on the 1939 bestseller list. I’ll begin looking at those novels this coming week.