Doris Grumbach

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 159

It takes Palazzeschi a long time to tell this simple story [The Sisters Materassi], for his subsidiary interests are varied, and he is often sidetracked by complex metaphor and simile. These stylistic tangents are worth his time and reader's, and they enrich a novel already full of interest. But his primary concern is with character, both dominant and recessive. Like Proust he submits good to evil and microscopically examines the results. And like Proust again, the struggle between the two is unevenly weighted because eccentricities of character and personality outbalance the strength of moral decision….

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One is rather impressed by [Palazzeschi's] entire objectivity. The Materassis and their beautiful, evil nephew are, like the Guermantes, specimens worthy of exact and loving investigation and display, and, in their way, they are as fascinating and worthwhile to the reader.

Doris Grumbach, "The Squander of Innocence," in Commonweal (copyright © 1953 Commonweal Publishing Co., Inc.; reprinted by permission of Commonweal Publishing Co., Inc.), July 31, 1953, p. 425.

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Paul Pickrel