Dalton Trumbo Beatrice Sherman - Essay

Beatrice Sherman

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["The Remarkable Andrew"] includes two remarkable Andrews—one, young Andrew Long of Shale City, Col., and the other General Andrew Jackson. The tale combines stiff doses of the literal and the fantastical which effervesce into a high-powered satirical cocktail. As a means for Mr. Trumbo to blow off steam about the present bewildering condition of local and world affairs, young Andrew is put through a very curious experience.

An honest, hardworking, sane young clerk in the offices of the city treasury, he one day finds that his books won't balance…. It takes a consultation by a half-dozen historical characters to get him out of this horrid mess. In the process the author indulges in blood satire on United States foreign policy and on municipal corruption in Shale City. The subjects seem oddly assorted, but each in turn comes in for its share of an ironical going-over.

The trial of the upright young man for embezzlement gains in effect by the narrow margin it leaves between straight reporting and gross burlesque. The book makes some trenchant points and offers some stimulating comment, but its blending of the didactic and fantastic, the romantic and practical, is more remarkable than felicitous.

Beatrice Sherman, "The Remarkable Andrew and Other New Fiction," in The New York Times Book Review, Part II (© 1941 by The New York Times Company; copyright renewed © 1968 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), February 2, 1941, p. 6.