The Definite Object is definitely second-rate

  The American setting of The Definite Object allows Jeffery Farnol to diversity his usual cast of minor characters with immigrants, gangsters, slumlords, and professional pugilists. The variety adds complexity to the novel without noticeably changing Farnol’s usual story line. The Definite Object: A Romance of New York by Jeffery Farnol 1917 bestseller #9. Project […]

It Can’t Happen Here: Timely and Terrifying

In 1935, Europe was preparing for war against the Jews and Socialists and anybody else who didn’t care to knuckle under to the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. Watching Europe fall into the clutches of dictators, Sinclair Lewis pondered how a dictator could come to power in America. It Can’t Happen Here: A Novel by […]

Life inThe House of Mirth is no laughing matter

The House of Mirth is a Jane Austen plot set in 1900’s New York City in which everything goes wrong. Like Miss Eliza Bennett, Lily Bart must marry money soon. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905, 1951. 329 pp. My grade: A. Beautiful and witty, Lily is already 29, living […]

Rediscover Twin American Explorers Christopher and Columbus

Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim makes Christopher and Columbus a joyous romp as twin orphans and their staunch friend who “would have been very handsome indeed if he hadn’t had a face” put their wits together to figure out how to survive in America’s 1916 anti-German hysteria. Anna-Rose and Anna-Felicitas Twinkler, “very German outside and very […]

Thriller built on race relations and foreign policy

Allen Drury followed up his blockbuster novel Advise and Consent with A Shade of Difference, which builds on events and characters from that novel. In the mid-twentieth century, “Terrible Terry,”a Western-educated leader of a British possession, is seeking UN help in getting immediate independent status for his African country.  Terry has the support of the […]

Maid in Waiting Is Worth Waiting For

In Maid in Waiting John Galsworthy takes up the post-war fortunes and misfortunes of Dinny Charwell, a young woman with sense, humor, loyalty, breeding, and a big, extended family. Although he is a marvelous writer, John Galsworthy isn’t an easy read. His characters talk about politics, religion, art, culture — everything except their personal miseries. […]

Return to Paradise Is a Bad Idea

James A. Michener was a World War II aviator.  In 1949, convinced that America’s future was linked with Asia’s, he decided to return to the South Pacific  “to write a kind of book that . . . had never been tried before.” The result is Return to Paradise, a collection of essays about the island […]