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Hello, MacKinlay Kantor

This book sounds interesting: the Chicago-based novel Diversey, by MacKinlay Kantor, originally published in 1928.
Marry Javlyn, a promising young journalist from Clay City, Iowa, is enticed to Chicago by the opportunities for professional advancement that the city has to offer. Marry adjusts quickly to his new environment, establishing a liaison with Jo Ruska from across the hall; cultivating a friendship with Steve Gold, a local gangster; and playing politics to get a job in City Hall. Literally speaking, Diversey is the story of one man and the influences that the city has on his character. In a broader sense, it is the story of an entire segment of Chicago society - the segment which inhabits the streets, the Loop, the cabarets, the boardinghouses, City Hall, the elevated trains, and the newsrooms of that teeming metropolis. Kantor's first novel, Diversey has suffered the criticism commonly applied to the works of meritorious young novelists - too long, too ambitious, too tightly knit - but all critics agree that it is a well wrought story and a splendid impression of 1920s Chicago. (Book Review Digest, 1928, p. 418-9.)
Diversey is being reissued by local indie Fifth Star Press, which is focused on Chicago nonfiction and fiction. I hadn't heard of the book, author or publisher until just yesterday, but now all three are definitely on my radar.

December 7, 2012 in Books, Chicago Observations | Permalink


MacKinley Cantor was once a big name that no one reads anymore. He won a Pulitzer for Andersonville. I used to read his stuff voraciously, but it's been a while since I took up any of it. He doesn't date well, at least his nonfiction.

Posted by: Paul at Dec 7, 2012 11:41:57 AM

Hey, Pete Lit,
I am the editor of Fifth Star Press,

Thanks for the shout out. Our next book, to be released in March, is Wrestling Li Po for the Remote, the latest collection by Illinois poet laureate, Kevin Stein.

Posted by: Ian Morris at Dec 11, 2012 7:59:49 PM