Esther Forbes Diana Trilling

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Diana Trilling

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"The Running of the Tide" is so clearly a pot-boiler—and this despite Miss Forbes's reputation as a historian—that it really should not be reviewed at all in a serious magazine. In fact, I had already set it aside, when I saw it written about on the front page of the New York Times Book Review as if it were a major artistic achievement. While it may not be entirely fair to submit an author to harsh judgment in one periodical just because she was unduly praised in another, I think it would be even less fair to allow the readers of this magazine to discover the disappointment of Miss Forbes's novel for themselves. Actually Miss Forbes's story of the seafarers of Salem has but a single thing to recommend it—its presumable historical accuracy. For the rest it is a tedious romance aimed at the movies, as remote as it could be from the important experience it was called by the newspaper which is the chief molder of literary opinion in this country. (p. 500)

Diana Trilling, in The Nation (copyright 1948 by the Nation Associates, Inc.), October 30, 1948.