Morton Thompson is a fine writer with a keen sense of how plot arises from character. He’s also a master of snappy dialogue and savory description. If only Thompson had stopped sooner, Not As a Stranger would be great reading.
As a boy, Luke Marsh decides medicine will be his life. Luke grubs his way through college. When his father dies suddenly during Luke’s first year of medical school, Luke marries a nurse with a plump bank account so he can push on to become a doctor.
Luke finds most of his colleagues lacking in skill, dedication, or selflessness. He also finds patients are a real nuisance. Luke can’t relate to anyone except on a professional basis.
If Luke is a misfit, his wife, Kristine, is overdue for canonization or psychotherapy. She overlooks Luke’s adultery, excuses his incivility, pays his bills, and lets him use her as a doormat.
Luke and Kristine go on digging their rut deeper until it seems impossible for the story to ever be resolved.
Thompson does finally pull the story to a halt with a device only slightly more credible than a magic wand. But at that point, a fairy godmother would have been welcome.Not As a Stranger By Morton Thompson Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1954 696 pages 1954 Bestseller #1
© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni