The writing of John Francis Tuohy (TEW-ee) is distinguished by two qualities: the excellence of his craft and the pessimism of his outlook. He was born May 2, 1925, in Uckfield, England, the son of Patrick Gerald Tuohy, Irish, and Dorothy Annandale Tuohy, Scottish. He was educated in Stowe School, King’s College, Cambridge. During World War II he was ineligible for military service because of a defective heart valve, later corrected by surgery. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1946, then embarked on a career teaching English language and literature in foreign countries, including Finland, Brazil, Poland, Japan, and the United States. He has also written reviews and articles for newspapers and journals. His wide travels and his interest in journalism not only provided him with the settings for his novels and many of his stories, which center on the lives of expatriates and their interaction with one another and with foreign nationals, but also were influential in his seeing himself as an observer of the world, not as a writer expressing his inner self. The chief subject of his fiction became the contrast and conflict of manners and cultures.
Tuohy’s novel The Ice Saints, set in Poland, tells the story of a Polish professor, his wife, and their son, who inherits a fortune from his mother’s English relatives. Rose Nicholson, the boy’s aunt, goes to Poland in the guise of a tourist, visits her sister’s family, and tries to persuade the boy, Tadeusz, to return to England, where he can enjoy his fortune. During her visit, Rose has an affair with a Polish government agent, who reveals the family’s secret to the government, spoiling any hope they may have had to get Tadeusz out of...
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