From the October 1946 magazine.

The Pleasures of Reading

THE FALL OF VALOR by Charles Jackson (Rinehart and Company, Inc., $2.75)

It might have been better if Charles Jackson had written this book first and The Lost Week-End second. That is, as far as his own career is concerned. As for the good of our country, nothing could have been more timely than The Lost Week-End. It stirred into life a great public awareness of the problem of alcohol. It made people everywhere ready and willing to read more and to learn more about the problem, and unquestionably made it easier for many alcoholics to seek help.

But perhaps it's unlucky for most writers to write a first novel that's a howling success. The second so often falls short of the first. This is the case here. In The Lost Week-End Mr. Jackson gets outside Don Birnam and looks at him dispassionately, and at the same time he is Don Birnam, experiencing each agony and each delusion. The whole job is a sleight-of-hand extraordinary and a piece of writing that's nobody's business. But here, in The Fall of Valor, one is drawn too close to the hero on the one hand, and on the other, one scarcely sees him at all. And so this book about a poor guy who goes haywire sexually at a fairly late age is an uneven piece of work; on the whole a disappointment.

-- F.G.

New York

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