(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Set entirely in the present and written exclusively using first-person narration, Love Among the Cannibals represents a refreshing comedic departure from the haunting multivoiced fiction characteristic of other Morris novels such as The Huge Season, The Field of Vision, and Ceremony in Lone Tree. One of the most readable and humorous novels in the Morris canon, this book was written and conceived more rapidly than any of his other works.

The story begins in 1950’s Hollywood and features two men—Earl Horter, who composes lyrics for jukebox songs, and his piano-playing partner, Irwin K. Macgregor, referred to variously as a “first-class slob” and “second-class song writer.” Both men are wayward World War II veterans who meet in California to work on a musical. While in the process of writing a number of songs and hanging out on the beach, the two pick up a couple of younger women and take them on a journey to Acapulco. The first is described as a “conventional” southern “chick,” Miss Billie Harcum, who by the end of the story becomes Mac’s dime-store bride. Eva, the second girl, is simply referred to as “the Greek.” Like her biblical antecedent, Eve, Eva exudes an aura of mysterious, primitive sexuality, and she lures Horter into a brief and intense love affair that ends when she decides to drop him in favor of an aging professor of marine biology, Dr. Leggett.

In its essence, the...

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(Masterpieces of American Literature)

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Crump, G. B. The Novels of Wright Morris: A Critical Interpretation. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978.

Howard, Leon. Wright Morris. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1968.

Knoll, Robert E., ed. Conversations with Wright Morris: Critical Views and Responses. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977.

Madden, David. Wright Morris. New York: Twayne, 1964.

Rice, Rodney. “Photographing the Ruins: Wright Morris and Midwestern Gothic.” MidAmerica 25 (1998): 128-154.

Trachtenberg, Alan. “The Craft of Vision.” Critique 4 (Winter, 1961): 41-55.

Trachtenberg, Alan, and Ralph Liebermann. Distinctly American: The Photography of Wright Morris. London: Merrell, 2002.

Wydeven, Joseph. Wright Morris Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1998.