So Little Time Author:John P. Marquand The scenes of Mr. Marquand's new novel--his longest and perhaps finest--are chiefly Bragg, Massachusetts, New York City, Southwestern Connecticut, Hollywood, and Washington; the time, from the German invasion of Norway to the end of 1941, but in retrospect the novel goes back to 1912 and so gives a broad picture of an era. It is the story of Je... more »ffrey Wilson, a boy from a small New England town, aviator in World War I, then newspaper man, play doctor, movie script writer; the story of his married life, his work, his worries, his search for security, his attempt to adjust himself to changing time and environment. It is the story of some good Americans who didn't want to face the probability of total war in the twenty months before Pearl Harbor. And especially it is the story of Jeffrey's relations with his older son, Jim, who is nineteen, a student at Harvard and in love in the spring of 1940. After Dunkirk Jeffrey began to realize that the United States would get into the war; he thought how little time Jim might have, wanted him to do whatever he chose. But the boy had a mother too, and Jeffrey's views did not prevail; and in the ensuing conflict Jeffrey learned more about himself and his world than he knew before.
If you have read Mr. Marquand's other novels, The Late George Apley, Wickford Point, and H. M. Pulham, Esquire, you will remember the Apley's father and son, Cousin Clothilde, Bella Brill, Bo-jo Brown, Bill King, Marvin Myles, George Stanhope. Add to Marquand's list of living, breathing characters, from So Little Time: Minot Roberts, Jeffrey's best friend, clubman, broker and master of hounds, whom he came to think of as resembling somewhat the portraits you see in advertisements of fine blended whisky; Jesse Fineman, the play producer, and Mintz, the film producer; Walter Newcombe, the famous war correspondent, author of "World Assignment" and "I Call the Turn," and Walter's wife; Jeffrey's socialite wife, Madge; Marianna Miller, the actress and film star, who was more or less in lvoe with Jeffrey; and Madge's best friend Beckie and the latter's husband, who knew all about tax-exempt bonds and whose barn on his Connecticut estate served as a second playroom and contained fireproofed hay. They were some of the good Americans who, to quote what might be called the theme song of the novel, in 1940 and 1941 were
"...looking for a happy land
Where everything is bright
Where the highballs grow on bushes
And we stay out every night."
So Little Time is brilliant satire, sparkling humor, with deep seriousness behind them both. So Little Time is a provocative picture of America, the America of booms and depressions, of gaieties and glooms, of isolationists and interventionists, between World War I and World War II.« less