Archives for American fiction

#BookReview ‘Time Will Darken It’ by William Maxwell #literary

Two families, the one from the South visits the one in the North. America before the Great War, class divides, manners, family duty, the race question and, beneath the politeness, love is turbulent. This is the world of Time Will Darken It. I don’t know why I have never discovered William Maxwell before now, but I will certainly seek out his others. Draperville, Illinois, is the setting for this observation of manners which at times reminded me of Austen. Draperville is based on Maxwell’s own hometown of Lincoln, Illinois. In 1912, the Potter family from Mississippi visit the family of their foster son. Austin King, lawyer in Draperville, struggles to live up to the reputation of his father Judge King. The interaction and resulting effects of the King and Potter families over four weeks and three days, is detailed in a way reminiscent of Austen. And the detail is fascinating. The interaction between the generations, the expectations of the men and women, norms of behaviour and what happens when those norms are broken. This pre-war period teeters on the verge of war, and all the changes that will soon be brought about. This is a wise book about relationships and
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