Garson Kanin Edward Weeks - Essay

Edward Weeks

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[A Thousand Summers] is a love story, told in reverie, by Freeman Osborn, a solitary Yankee, owner of the Edgartown Pharmacy on Martha's Vineyard…. Freeman's horizon was bounded by the Vineyard until that day in 1927 when an attractive woman entered his shop to have a cinder removed from her eye. He performed the operation deftly and with fateful consequence to them both.

Sheila is the wife of Thomas Van Anda, a stuffed shirt high up in the Foreign Service. She and Freeman discover a mutual attraction for Japan, where she had been stationed for three years and whose history and art he has absorbed at long range…. Their talk is bland, their snatched-at happiness undetected, and, to me, rather implausible.

When Freeman patents a successful insect repellent he can afford to leave the Vineyard on his pursuit of a future with Sheila. But by now his wife is fighting a divorce and Van Anda, who also stands in his way, is successful in his bid for the Senate. With the skill of a dramatist Mr. Kanin plots his urbane story to its sudden climax and poignant aftermath. (pp. 127-28)

EdwardWeeks, "The Peripatetic Reviewer: 'A Thousand Summers'," in The Atlantic Monthly (copyright © 1973, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass.; reprinted with permission), Vol. 232, No. 5, November, 1973, pp. 127-28.