The Unpossessed

Article excerpt

by Tess Slesinger

NEW YORK REVIEW BOOKS, 2002

Review by Doris Anderson

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Reading this book not only takes you back to New York in the Dirty Thirties, but you are struck by how timely it is, with its cast of characters and their deeply held convictions about how the world should be changed. The plot involves a group of young idealists who wouldn't be terribly out of place today. There is the earnest young couple grappling with poverty and such penny-pinching moral decisions as whether bare necessities might be indulgences that should be postponed for the good of humanity. They further torture themselves with soul-searching discussions about how all of this is affecting their own relationship.

There is the dreamy intellectual, grappling with trying to be pragmatic while fantasizing about starting a magazine and even, perhaps, getting married. Then there is the rich boy who rebels by slumming in another world while he searches for warmth and meaning for his life. There is also the opportunist who uses radical politics to advance his own sexual conquests, trying to seduce his host's wife in the kitchen while the host drones on about Marxist politics in the living room. …