Sunday, 16 April 2017

This Passing Night - Clive Miller



SECKER & WARBURG 
FIRST PRINTING 1963
LONDON, UK
COVER ART BY LAZLO ACS

Here is an American novel about youth, new and big and different in the way that West Side Story was big and new and different. Clive Miller's first novel, adult in approach, searing in authenticity, in style recalls Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. In content it penetrates to the quick, exposes rawly as an open wound the lives and attitudes of American youth today: the privileged young people of private schools, Harvard and New York, and the youth of Brooklyn gangs.

Richard Pierson and Amadeo Magini grew up together in Brooklyn and then their lives separated. The world of Pierson was not without conflict and doubt, frustration and desire, but it was firmly rooted in the confident axis of college, Harvard, New York and its suburbs, and there was always Europe to escape to if the design of life proved unforeseen and unwelcome. Magini's world was equally firm rooted, but against a setting of violence and brutality in which power was the ultimate value and survival a constant struggle.

As Richard Pierson and his friends seek love and purpose in their lives, Amadeo Magini seeks a truce between the Cheetahs and the Noble Magicians. On the Cote d'Azur a young American and an Italian girl have a lyrically romantic affair, and in a Brooklyn cinema against the pounding background of rock-and-roll there is a brutal rape. The lives and worlds of Pierson and Magini cross once again before the powerful and violent climax: the rumble between the Cheetahs and the Noble Magicians.

This Passing Night contains scenes of devastating violence juxtaposed with scenes of great tenderness, quiet and private alongside the brutality of rumble and rape. By turns romantic and violent, it is always truthful and convincing. The effect is like a cold shower on a hot day: of great immediacy and utterly refreshing. Clive Miller has made an impressive start to his literary career.

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