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Thursday
Jun182009

1952

From Here to Eternity

by James Jones

Original Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
Current Publisher:
Dell Publishing; Open Road Integrated Media (ebook)

Harold Augenbraum writes:

Forget the movie, forget handsome sexy Burt Lancaster and beauteous Deborah Kerr canoodling on the sand, forget another awful acting performance by ham-actor Frank Sinatra (“Watch out for Fatso!”, oh, puh-leeze), forget the overmelodramatization by director Fred Zinnemann, this book is full of violence, boredom, drunkenness, suicide, gambling, whoring, existential crises, self-loathing, ugliness, and degradation in Hawai’i in the months leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. And it’s long, 850 pages of the stuff, with an unrelenting style of malleable words in its narrative and dialogue. Reminded me a bit of Celine, unmitigated pressure, a cross between hell and purgatory set against the backdrop of paradise in the Hawaiian Islands. If Jones didn’t have Dante in mind when he wrote this, I’d be surprised. In fact, the irony of it all is that the attack on Pearl Harbor, which leads to war, also leads to an apotheosis of sorts. War is hell? Nah, pre-war is hell.

Harold Augenbraum is Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, an editor and translator.

ISBN: 9780385333641

Fiction Finalists that Year:

  • James Agee for The Morning Watch
  • Truman Capote for The Grass Harp
  • William Faulkner for Requiem for a Nun
  • Caroline Gordon for The Strange Children
  • Thomas Mann for The Holy Sinner
  • John P. Marquand for Melville Goodwin, USA
  • J.D. Salinger for The Catcher in the Rye
  • William Styron for Lie Down in Darkness
  • Jessamyn West for The Witch Diggers
  • Herman Wouk for The Caine Mutiny

Fiction Judges that Year: Robert Gorham Davis, Brendan Gill, Lloyd Morris,
Budd Schulberg, Jean Stafford

The Year in Literature:

  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  • François Mauriac won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

More Information:

From Here to Eternity was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, and Frank Sinatra in 1953.

James Jones was also a Fiction Finalist in 1960 for The Pistol.

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