John (Marsden) Ehle (Jr.) Coleman Rosenberger - Essay

Coleman Rosenberger

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Mr. Ehle's "Move Over, Mountain" is an engaging book, a warm-hearted story of a North Carolina family which the author quite obviously respects and admires, told with insight and humor and a fine narrative sense….

If Mr. Ehle rejects an easy stereotype of a Southern town for something more difficult to achieve, the realistic recreation of the kind of town which he has lived in and knows, his rejection of stereotypes in his characterizations is even more refreshing. It happens that Jordan and his family are Negroes. This fact involves them in some special circumstances, but the special circumstances are less momentous than those which are common to all the citizens, Negro and white of the community.

Jordan and his family are individuals. They are people with problems, but they are people, with all their various strengths and weaknesses, and not just problems. And the problems they have are those which, in one way or another, all human beings are likely to be heir to.

This is something rather unusual in a Southern novel. Perhaps Mr. Ehle, who was born in 1925, speaks for a new generation of Southern writers. In any event, to read "Move Over, Mountain" is a very happy experience.

Coleman Rosenberger, "Warm-Hearted Story of a Southern Family," in New York Herald Tribune Book Review (© I.H.T. Corporation; reprinted by permission), April 28, 1957, p. 6.