At a glance:
- Author: Paul West
- First Published: 1961
- Type of Work: Comic grotesque
- Time of Work: The late 1950’s with flashbacks to World War II and earlier
- Setting: Rural Connecticut, England, wartime Italy, and Manhattan
- Characters: Camden Smeaton, Brenda Smeaton, Merula Smeaton, Huntley Fisher, Wendy Fisher, Linda Panton
- Genres: Long fiction, Grotesque literature, Dark comedy, Novel
- Subjects: 1950's, Family or family life, New York, North America or North Americans, Northeast, U.S., United States or Americans, Love or romance, Suicide, Murder or homicide, New York City, World War II, Religion, New England, God, England or English people, Connecticut, Death or dying, Tragedy, Loneliness, Italy or Italians, Old age or elderly people, Retirement, Isolation, Fishes
- Locales: Europe, United States, Connecticut, England, Italy, North America, Manhattan, New York, United Kingdom
Paul West’s first novel begins with a family quarrel and ends with all members of the family dead (including the dog), three by murder, the last by suicide. Yet the dominant tone of the novel is not morbid, but comic. The entire present action occurs in a Connecticut hamlet distinguished mostly by its lack of eventfulness. This novel’s three primary characters—Camden, Brenda, and Merula Smeaton—are not only in isolation but also in retirement, from civilization, from work, from life.
Each Smeaton is not only well beyond maturity but also significantly...
(The entire page is 1566 words.)
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