Frank Swinnerton The Times Literary Supplement - Essay

The Times Literary Supplement

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It would be hard to maintain that Nor All Thy Tears comes up to the standard of [Swinnerton's] best fiction, since despite its lively construction and wide range of characters, there is a certain lack of verisimilitude about much of their behaviour which, alas, depends largely on the way they talk and the attitudes they express—inescapably those of an earlier age. The tough twenty-five-year-old heiress to a Fleet Street empire, who is the focus of attention, is somewhat inclined to shriek and glare and collapse, particularly after a glass or two of champagne with her oily legal adviser, in the manner of a Victorian heroine rather than the dogged and indeed pig-headed new broom who decides to liven up the old firm with more sex and sophistication….

Frank Swinnerton is never at a loss for incident; there are both office and domestic tensions interwoven here, and he has managed his two big scenes—the office dinner and a jolly discussion, on politics and such …—with considerable aplomb and expertise. He is a good deal less convincing on the interior monologues in which most of the women characters spend some time indulging…. Those who actually know Fleet Street office life may raise an eyebrow or two, but they will nevertheless find much to entertain in the remarkably agile and fluent narrative that Mr. Swinnerton invents….

"Paper Tigers," in The Times Literary Supplement, No. 3669, June 23, 1972, p. 705.