Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Ten North Frederick, John O'Hara, Random House Inc, 1955, 408 pp

This novel was last on the Top 10 Bestsellers list for 1955. However, it also won the National Book Award in 1956. It was a fairly entertaining read about the top layer of society in a small Pennsylvania town. From what I have read so far of O'Hara's books, that seems to be his theme and location. In fact, there is not a great deal of difference between Ten North Frederick and his 1949 bestseller, Rage to Live, except that this novel included what happens to a fairly decent and cultured man who goes into politics. Nothing good of course.

Therefore to me, this was not an important book despite its bestseller material for the times (old money, family saga, sexual peccadilloes). It is another example of the cusp apparent in mid 1950s popular literature, sitting firmly on the end-of-an-era side. To see another viewpoint, check out the review on the National Book Award 60th Anniversary site.

(Ten North Frederick is out of print. I found a copy in my local library. Otherwise you will have to troll the used bookstores or on-line sellers.)

No comments:

Post a Comment