Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Journey in the Dark

Finished Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1943. Set in and around the Chicago area from the turn of the 20th century until midway through World War II, this is a marvelous coming-of-age/family saga novel.

Sam Braden does not know that his family is poor until he doesn't receive a hoped for new sled for Christmas one year. His older sister impatiently scolds his disappointment. From that moment on he works hard to change his own as well as his family's circumstances.

There were parts of this novel that reminded me a lot of the film Citizen Kane. Sam Braden and Charles Foster Kane have sentimental recollections of their boyhood sleds. Both men become influential in their time and build estates with luxurious appointments. Both find that these material possessions hold little to no value in the end. Sam is a better man than Charles. He is never so great that he does not see the plight of those with less than him. He is kindly, generous and ultimately forgiving of people who have wronged him throughout his life. I really enjoyed this book and am adding it to my list of favorite Pulitzer winners. This book also won the Harper Prize in 1943. Other previous Pulitzer winners which also won the Harper Prize are The Able McLaughlins and Honey in the Horn.

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