Winter 1939 • Vol. I No. 1 Book Reviews |

The Shattered Door

The Fathers by Allen Tate. Putnam’s Sons. $2.50. No doubt many readers of Allen Tate’s novel, The Fathers, have read it in about the way they read current novels—as a moving story, that is, a story which tells of the sudden, intricate and tragic collapse of a Southern family at the outbreak of the Civil War. That the novel can be read thus is a tribute to the richness of the story-telling. And yet page after page will make many other readers, especially those who have pondered Allen Tate’s poetry, come to a full stop in order to meditate on what is written between the lines; for only a few modern novels, and of these few only the greatest, have been so symbolic, so full of implications, so organically significant as is this one. These are the aspects of The Fathers to which I want particularly to direct attention. The shattering of the Buchan family proceeds stage by stage under the onslaught of the blind energies of George Posey, son-in-law to the family, a young man

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