“Early Autumn” trilogy

September 29, 2009 at 11:41 am | Posted in Fiction | 3 Comments

It’s a sneaky trick:  award a Pulitzer prize to one volume of a series, thereby giving the nod to them all.  In this particular case, Early Autumn is the third volume of a trilogy by Louis Bromfield.

The first volume, The Green Bay Tree, is my personal favorite.  It’s a sprawling, decadent story about forbidden passions, defiance, family ties, social hypocrisy, and the place of the artist in society.  The characters are magnificent.  It’s very “beach read” for a Pulitzer author.

The second volume, Possession, tells the story of a supporting character from The Green Bay Tree over the same time period.  The two female leads do have stories to tell, but it was a bit repetitive reading these volumes back to back.

Early Autumn is a great family saga, with all the drama and heartbreak one could want.  In my opinion, though, The Green Bay Tree was the better book.  It was published in 1924, the same year as The Able McLaughlins, which makes me shake my head a bit, because I think it could have won that contest as well.  It might simply have been a question of the more scandalous nature of Bromfield’s work.

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