(John) Rayner Heppenstall

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George Dangerfield

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Louis Duncan [the blind protagonist of "The Blaze of Noon"] experiences life with four intensified senses, the fifth being absent; and since he is the narrator, everything in the book is felt not seen.

Certainly Mr. Heppenstall (presumably by shutting his eyes and discovering what it feels like) has done an admirable job of describing a blind man's emotions when he enters a strange room, meets a strange person, takes a walk in an unknown garden, or swims in the sea. But this is not a novel about blindness but a novel about Love—Love as propounded by Louis Duncan—Love without any visual descriptions to aid it…. [The] fact remains that the novel is an obstinate entity; it demands the creation of acceptable characters; and Louis Duncan comes very short of this simple ideal. He is, in fact, rather tiresome. He speaks of Love as if he were a gymnastic instructor, and Love an exercise that must be conducted without gaiety or humor. He is a bit of a prig, and more than a bit of a bore.

George Dangerfield, "Obstinate Entity," in Saturday Review (© 1940 by Saturday Review, Inc.; reprinted with permission), May 25, 1940, p. 22.

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