Some novels cross genres.
Thornton Wilder’s Heaven’s My Destination tangles them.
Heaven’s My Destination by Thornton Wilder
Harper & Row, 1934. 304 pages. 1935 bestseller #7. My grade: B+.
Handsome, young George Marvin Brush, a traveling textbook salesman, is the novel’s ridiculous central character.
George didn’t put himself “through college for four years and go through a difficult religious conversion in order to have ideas like other people’s.”
One of George’s ideas is to found “an American home,” which at 23 he has not yet been able to do.
He’s looking for the farmer’s daughter he comforted in a barn one night at age 22, which made him “her husband until she or I dies.”
Since that night, George hasn’t been able to find the farm or the girl.
Her name might have been Roberta.
Wilder’s story romps along Tristram Shandy-style as George stumbles along making enemies by trying to live up to his principles.
The story is saved from farce by George’s shout, “Can’t you see that you don’t know anything about religion until you start to live it?”
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni