Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Parnassus on Wheels: Review
Actually finished this one late last night, so it counts for the last of my Classic Bribe Challenge Reads. Parnassus on Wheels (1917) is the first novel by Christopher Morley. It tells the story of Helen McGill who is getting tired of taking care of her older brother Andrew who has recently become a famous "homespun" author and who is spending less and less time doing the farm chores that are supposed to be his end of the bargain. One day Roger Mifflin, owner of the Parnassus on Wheels traveling bookshop, shows up at the gate hoping to sell his wares (lock, stock & barrel) to the famous author. That's the last thing Helen wants. Because she knows if Andrew takes off in the bookcart for more adventures to write up he won't show up at the farm for several months. So, she decides to buy it and treat herself to a well-deserved vacation and adventures of her own.
This is a light-hearted and charming snapshot of a by-gone era--days when travel by horse and wagon was the norm. Morley's first novel shows all the promise of his later works like Kathleen and The Haunted Bookshop. The cornerstones of light comedy, a bit of adventure and gentle wit are all there. I enjoyed this little adventure with Helen...although I must say that the more fully developed Haunted Bookshop is still my favorite. Roger Mifflin gives us the benefit of some of his wisdom about the importance of books, but not near as much as we will hear in the later book. Over all, a quick, fun read with a dash of romance. Four stars.