Into Your Tent I'll Creep Author:Peter DeVries ?The marriage of Al Banghart to his old schoolteacher, Miss Piano, is one of those perfect unions?at least to a reader looking for a good laugh. A Chicago amorist of the raffish order suggested by the title line from The Sheik of Araby, the groom nevertheless has a strong domestic side, evidenced not only by his willingness to keep house while ... more »the bride pur4sues her career as a Liberated Woman, but also by the daytime intervals the arrangement enables him to snatch in the kitchens and then the bedrooms of neighborhood ladies. The reverberating blow-up of one such amour?with the toothsome tenant next door?forces Banghart to reassemble the fragments of his life into the more traditional workaday pattern, with results that drive his wife, Rose, to try her luck with another man, one who is also coming apart at the seams, only on a much higher level.
?This is the minister of the local church, where Man's relationship to God is sought chiefly through productions of Rose's translations of Racine. Reverend Shorty Hopwell must certainly put an end to the cycle of far-out clerics which Peter DeVries himself started with Andrew Mackerel of The Mackerel Plaza. Reverend Shorty sniffs and savors the communion wines with a connoisseur's palate: 'I think you'll like the deferential little Beaujolais, dearly beloved...' Eventually, however, he gets religion (the old-time kind), a conversion which renders him unfit for the ministry, at least in these urban parts.
?The scene shifts to Connecticut where Al's estranged Rose has fled with the rapidly unraveling Shorty, and as the story reaches its climax?with the pursuing Al and a party of bird watchers aboard a doomed raft on Long Island Sound?we find that though Into Your Tent I'll Creep may lack a hero, it has all along definitely had a heroine. On the reconciled Rose falls the burden of that chivalry defaulted on by modern man (with the full approval, of course, of modern woman, who regards it as but another form of historical subjugation, et cetera and so forth).
With his cheerfully dim view of human nature, what Peter DeVries, this 'good failed Calvinist' (Life magazine), seems to be saying is that, after all our vaunted quests for liberation have been fulfilled, we shall all at last be fully free?free--to go out and get stuck with one another. But then, as a character in a previous novel of his has observed, 'When we see what is embraced in airports and at railway stations, we realize man wants but little here below.'?« less