P S Wilkinson Author:C. D. B. Bryan When the reader first meets P.S. Wilkinson he is a lieutenant in truce-time Korea, competent, serious about his duties, and impatient to return to the envied existence of his college friends, who are already working in offices, getting married and raising families. But the life to which he returns-and his contemporaries-are wide of his exp... more »ectations. Even the girl he had been in love with, and falls in love with again, is disturbingly different...troubled by needs that seem beyond his capacity-or will-to meet.
This is the story of P.S. Wilkinson's coming to grips with the world around him...a young man conscious of his obligations as a privileged member of society and anxious to make good on his commitment. Raised within Institutions-Family, Schools, Military, Business-he has also been raised as a man of Honor, and his problem is to discover an honorable course among the dubious formulas of contemporary life. He seeks Honor in his relationships with everyone, from the President of the United States down to a stripper in an East Baltimore Street night club. And since his main concern is not other people's honor but their effect upon his own, when other people threaten his honor, he rebels...whether the treat comes from the Army, the President, the "respectable job," his best friend, or the girl who married someone else. He rebels; but he is not a rebel. He knows that growing a beard and wearing sandals won't protect him from the facts he has to deal with. Nor will working in a bank. Nor will a love affair begun almost by accident and prolonged by indecision.
Yet P.S. Wilkinson, in his quiet, well-tailored way, and somewhat to his own surprise, does succeed in ending a path between abject conformity and abject alienation. Knowing it to be set about with risks, fully conscious of the possibilities of failure, he nonetheless chooses it. For the reader, who has shared deeply the events and the emotions from which this discovery and choice emerge, they provide a stirring resolution for a novel of singular candor, subtlety and strength.
P.S. Wilkinson is the 1965 Harper Prize Novel, chosen by Granville Hicks, John Barkham, and Shirley Ann Grau.« less