Successful Novels Reviewed in 2013 Define Success

In a 1985 introduction to a novel I’m to review here in 2014, John W. Aldridge had this to say about American novels: Until fairly recently in this country it was possible for novels to be both serious and popular without being in any way cheap, titillating, escapist, or, for that matter, depressing. They could […]

Fathers in Novels

Fathers who try to give their children all the advantages are two-a-penny in fiction. What makes them interesting is that they don’t all use the same strategies. Nor do they all work from the same base of moral and emotional strength. In Howard Spring’s My Son, My Son, a twentieth-century father spoils his son to […]

My picks of the 1943 bestsellers

Picking the 1943 bestsellers to which I wouldn’t give shelf space is easier than choosing three keepers.  Five of the 10 have withstood the ravages of time. My favorite is Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  The novel is the quintessential American Dream tale. Armed only with grit, love, and a belief in the […]