To finish later, or read here and there. I bought this for "Mademoiselle from Kansas City," a ten-page episode from the unwritten third Bridge novel that was to center on Ruth Bridge, the pouty, indolent eldest daughter who scandalizes her mother by riding in cars with unsuitable boys, manipulates her father with ambiguous, subtly erotic posturing, and who heads to New York in the late 1930s for a spell, or perhaps a lifetime, of parentally-financed bohemianism. "Mademoiselle from Kansas City" is a puzzling fragment - does it take place some years after her arrival, or does the story show her just arrived, as she embarks on a new life necessarily hidden from her parents as we observe them, reading letters from her, in the novels? Was it to be the beginning, middle, or end of Miss Bridge? I don't want to spoil it for the two or three people on this site who care about Connell's gently hellish bourgeois dollhouse, but I will say that the story is at once shocking and subtle, outlandish and foreseeable, a cheaply cinematic situation that's also true to what we know of Ruth and her "upbringing." A tightrope that Connell, master that he was, managed to walk.

"The Palace of the Moorish Kings" read as a bald justification of Connell's own refusal of domesticity, of his childless, wandering, hermetic life of odd jobs and obsessive writing and research. "The Marine" and "Yellow Raft" made me think of Jack London and Hemingway. Connell was a Navy pilot in WW2, and the first story seems like the inscription of a haunting memory, and the second, about a downed flier bobbing in the vast Pacific, the working-out of a wartime fear, a worst case scenario all pilots probably entertained, wondering if they could endure it.