His Children’s Children Disappointingly Good

Rufus takes an axe to his home's rooftop statue
Rufus takes an axe to his home’s rooftop statue

Arthur Train’s His Children’s Children is too good not to be better.

The novel focuses on the children and grandchildren of Peter “the Pirate” Kayne, an old rip who made his pile in mining and railroads and used it to start his family up the social ladder. By 1921, his son Rufus has achieved social respectability; his granddaughters have achieved social acceptance.

As the novel opens, lawyer Lloyd Maitland is assigned to deal with Rufus’s attempt to get his daughter Claudia and her children away from her philandering husband.

The story quickly veers off to the unwed Kayne sisters, both of whom seem to Lloyd to have no moral values. That doesn’t stop Lloyd being smitten with Diana.

The novel is an indictment of materialism and bad parenting. Train takes care to make his case largely through dialogue, underscoring it with descriptions that impale characters on his pen point.

Train never lets go of his thesis, but he seems to lose the thread of the plot. When the curtain comes down on a contrived ending, situations have changed but people have not.

We have to put up with such reality in life; in a novel, it feels like an insult.

His Children’s Children
by Arthur Train
Illus. By Charles D. Mitchell
1923, Grosset & Dunlap
391 pages
1923 bestseller #2

© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Published by

Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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