Tag Archives: helen eustis

POSTCARD #10: THE HORIZONTAL MAN

BREAKING NEWS – Acclaim for Helen Eustis’ masterpiece:
‘A good read’
‘Entertaining’
‘A great deal of… wit’
‘This book should be read’


Err… Or perhaps not.

I have to admit, it’s at times like this I feel a pang of guilt for unleashing the burden of the Penguin Postcard Project on its poor discerning victims. And this review started off so promisingly, too. Truth be told, though, I’m quite tempted to read The Horizontal Man anyway. Our reviewer pulls it to pieces… but really rather affectionately. Maybe.

Did you know? This book won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel by An American Author in 1947. I’m willing to bet our reviewer wouldn’t have voted for it…

The Horizontal Man is a good read, simply for how awful it is. It’s best captured by a sentence in the author’s bio: ‘Helen Eustis… attended Smith College, where she won a medal for creative writing, a degree, and her 1st husband…’ Set at a women’s college, the story involves a dead poet, a disturbed student coming close to failing her degree, a geeky student winning her (1st?) boyfriend, and a great deal of forced wit and insipid storyline. The unconvincing banter between the characters, however, is the reason why this book should be read: entertaining for the one-liners as well as the second-order sneer that anyone could honestly write it.

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