Edwin O'Connor Edward R. F. Sheehan - Essay

Edward R. F. Sheehan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The "Boy" fragment, at the very end of [The Best and the Last of Edwin O'Connor], is 40 pages of the novel that O'Connor was writing when he [died]…. It is a charming account of a boy growing up in a small, ugly mill city of New England; his friends … felt that in finished form it might have become his best book. The much shorter, and less polished, 16-page fragment of his "Cardinal" novel, however, seemed to me more ambitious of its intent and therefore more interesting for its unconsummated purpose.

The "Cardinal" of O'Connor's fragment is an eighty-year-old prelate, presumably of a New England see, staring death in the face. O'Connor's opening shafts are exceedingly veracious and...

(The entire section is 432 words.)