Page 46 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
34
Westchester, where he lives, has produced in him a flabbiness of
character. Several extremely vexing experiences during the day
almost drain him of what little will power and courage he still
possesses. At the end, one is left with the impression that the
executive will not go to bat for his friend when the latter arrives
in town the following morning.
The problem of juvenile delinquency during the war years is
the subject of
Amboy Dukes
, a novel by Irving Shulman (N. Y.,
Doubleday, ’47), the characters of which represent a group of
boys and girls from Brownsville, that thickly populated Jewish
section of Brooklyn.
A rather mediocre novel is
The bachelor seals
by Martin Dibner
(N. Y., Doubleday, ’48). It is the story of four young men who
were graduated from college in the early years of the depression,
who had to make their various ways during those eventful years,
and who finally were called upon to defend their country in the
Second World War. They are types, without dimension, labels
presented as men, without even adult speech. One of them Robert
Paley is an artist and a Jew. He is smothered by anti-Semitism
and compensates with drink and dreary prostitutes. He goes off
to the French Underground and is killed. There are striking
observations on bigotry in fraternities, on the disgusting results
of Jew-hatred and other pertinent matters.
Storm against the wall
by Fannie Frank [Mrs. Jerome E.] Cook
(N. Y., Doubleday, ’48) is a novel in which the fortunes of a
St. Louis family from the turn of the century until the close of
the Second World War are interwoven with the fate of their rela-
tives in Germany, with both branches of the family experiencing
the difficulties of being Jewish in a frequently hostile environment.
In her first novel
The road through the wall
(N. Y., Farrar, ’48),
Shirley Jackson gives a nostalgic, revealing picture of a group of
children and their families. I t is a good story of the Desmonds
who own their home but are planning to move to a “better”
neighborhood; the Perlmans, only Jewish family on the block;
the Byrnes, of rigid faith who pay their rent regularly as do the
Donalds; and Miss Fleming, the spinster. They make up the
group who live on Pepper Street, in the town of Cabrillo, Califor-
nia, but it might be a street in any American community where
people, modestly well off, live and raise their families. Yet the
families there are not without their guilt, for when the Ransom-
Jones give their garden party, the Perlmans are not invited. And
their daughter Marilyn has to learn how a friend like Harriet
Merriam can change after Mrs. Merriam explains “social stand-
ards” to her. I t is a novel well written and with an unerring sense
of values. Another novel which purports to unfold the story of