The Guests of Summer
by Bobbs-Merrill, $3.00.
In a summer resort in the Adirondacks, during the weeks leading up to the last war, Hilde Abel unfolds a highly charged tale of a young girl’s transition to womanhood. The second and interlocking theme is the Jew’s anguish and tormenting self-consciousness at that doomsday period in the history of the Jews. Young Julie Dreyfuss, whose parents have come from an East European ghetto, suffers from the conflict between her family heritage and her American upbringing. She is attracted by the Nordic good looks of Roger Evans, but her sense of apartness acts as a brake on her liking for him. Then she falls in love with a young Polish Jew on a mission to America, but there is something about his European ways and attachments which leaves her resentful. Julie’s passage to fuller maturity is about as persuasively handled as that sort of thing can be.
The story’s focus is occasionally a bit fuzzy, and the characters live on an exceptionally persistent level of emotionalism. but all in all this is a fine book, deeply felt and with a poetic individuality of its own.