Hamner, Earl, Jr. Orville Prescott - Essay

Orville Prescott

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] one thing we don't expect to find on the sidewalks of New York is fantasy, sentimentality and simple goodness. Yet these are the elements to be found in Earl Hamner's novel, "You Can't Get There From Here," a modern tale about the search of a sixteen-year-old boy for his wandering father through the symbolical dream world of an improbable city called New York. Is this a good novel? It's hard to be certain, but I don't think so. It is a little too sweet and its gossamer thread of story is too frail and artificially contrived. On the other hand, this is an appealing novel, one that makes one feel young and innocent and good just for the few hours it takes to read it. If there is nothing in these whispy pages that can be taken seriously, neither is there anything that isn't pleasant, gently humorous and likable.

It would be as difficult to dislike "You Can't Get There From Here" as to dislike a basket of spaniel puppies. In the cold, hard, raucous world of modern fiction there ought to be room for a sensitive plant like this. (p. 29)

Orville Prescott, in The New York Times (© 1965 by The New York Times Company: reprinted by permission). June 11, 1965.