Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Looking through the books I inherited from my parents today, I came across The Longer Day, by the anonymous author of Miss Tiverton Goes Out.

You know how a lot of popular culture stuff from the period from about 1920 to 1960 makes fun of ”the modern novel”? Well, I think this is the sort of book they had in mind. The original review in the New York Times called it “psychological” and “devilishly clever,” according to the results of a quick web search. There are, upon skimming through it, several amusing bits, like the woman during the First World War (simply called “the war,” since this was published in 1930) who can’t tell the sound of bombs exploding from the sound of artillery, and is distraught because she was told at a seance that she would be killed by the thirteenth bomb and how can she keep count with all those guns going off? But an attempt to actually read it bounced off very quickly. The characters are repulsive, the dialogue contrived, and the ending, I am not kidding, I swear, amounts to ”…and then they were all run over by a bus.”

Okay, not all of them, but the protagonist is killed by running out into traffic while attempting to rescue an unusually stupid kitten.

There’s no sign of a plot.

I think I am going to give this book away.

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