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The Turmoil: A Novel Paperback – Large Print, June 14, 2012
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As far as Orson Welles, “The Turmoil” is the first of three novels forming a loose trilogy, nicknamed the Growth Trilogy. The second novel, “The Magnificent Ambersons,” is much better known today, largely because Orson Welles filmed it, and his film was butchered by the studio, creating the legend of a “lost” Welles film. This has kept the second book somewhat in the public literary mind, and some small percentage of those who read “The Magnificent Ambersons,” like me, then choose to read the other “Growth” books. Of course, I’m from Indiana, so Booth Tarkington is also somewhat in the backdrop of my life, making me even more likely to read these books. Purdue University has a dormitory named “Tarkington Hall,” which my father, who taught at Purdue, was associated with. And my mother read some of Tarkington’s “Penrod” stories to me as a child. Nonetheless, these books are worth reading for anyone, not just those with regional interests.Read more ›
The last character of chapter one is a colon. Something this egredious puts the reader on notice that there's something missing, and indeed there is--six lines of poetry from the real book are omitted. Now, you'd think that the publisher, even if inclined to cut a few corners, would have noticed that there was something wrong here. But they didn't.
Apparently, the only goal of the publisher was to make the book occupy as few pages as possible. I can't say exactly how far they succeeded in this, however, because page numbers are one of the niceties that Yurita decided to omit. They saved one page (at the expense of disorienting the new reader) by beginning the text of the book on the verso. But mostly they set in itty-bitty condensed type, with nearly 100 characters on a line. Even reading the two pages of chapter one (which occupiess five pages in a decent edition) gave me the beginnings of a headache.
At this point, I found the tell-tale hanging colon. I put the book aside, and set about getting a more responsibly edited edition. I suggest you do likewise.
One other point. The book doesn't really have a title page, but on the verso of the half-title, you see, above the copyright notice, "First Published circa 1946". 1946 is actually the year Booth Tarkington died. The novel itself was first published in 1915. Oh, well ... what's an error of thirty years or so when you have the chance to read something published by "people who are passionate about history's greatest works"?Read more ›
The focus of the novel is on the Sheridan family, which has recently come to wealth through the strong business practices of the father (James), who puts his business before everything else. Other members of the family are the weak wife, the eldest son James Jr. (i.e. Jim) - who is being groomed to replace his father, the middle child Roscoe - who is being treated like a runner-up, a daughter Edith - who is pushing to make the family part of society, and the youngest son Bibbs - who is a disappointment to his father, because he has a much different outlook on what is important in life. It is Bibbs who is the main character of the novel. Other key characters include Sibyl Sheridan - the wife of Roscoe, Bobby Lamhorn - the love interest of Edith, and Mary Vertreese, the daughter of the Vertreese family, which is an old and prestigious family in the area, but one which is keeping up appearances as they are almost without money.
There are still some issues with the racial interaction between the Sheridans and their servants which some will find offensive.Read more ›