Saturday, May 14, 2016

Anderson, Sherwood. Beyond Desire (New York: Liveright, c1961) 359 p.
A judge’s daughter from Langdon, Georgia goes to library school at the University of Chicago.

Ethel Long’s eyes were puzzling. They were greenish-blue and hard. Then they were softly blue. She wasn’t particularly sensual. She could be brutally cold. She wanted sometimes to be soft and yielding. When you saw her in a room, tall and slender, well formed, her hair seemed brown. When light shone through, it became red. (p. 121).

A young instructor is fascinated with her and helps her with exams.

Before an examination he worked with her for hours. What a joke the four years at the university had been! What a waste of time and money for such a one as herself! (p. 153).

After finishing her studies she gets a job at a far west branch of the Chicago Public Library, “ … handing out dirty soiled books to dirty soiled people day after day … having to be cheerful about it and act as though you liked it.” (p. 158).

In Chicago Ethel sometimes attends literary parties and meets writers. She is interested in fine clothes. She prefers writers who write about rich powerful people. Ethel comes home and takes charge of the Langdon Public Library. A young man becomes fascinated with her and hangs out at the library frequently watching her.

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