My Father's Voice: Mackinlay Kantor Long Remembered

Tim Kantor, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $17.95 (290p) ISBN 978-0-07-033276-8
MacKinlay Kantor's son, a Florida photojournalist and TV interviewer, lovingly recalls the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (Andersonville) who wrote the story from which the Oscar-winning film The Best Years of Our Lives was made. A big, bluff, emotional Iowan, ``Mack'' Kantor (1904-1977) regarded himself as a 19th century man. This bestselling author, Hollywood scriptwriter and Saturday Evening Post war correspondent lived expansively and expensively in New York City, built a large house in Florida and continued to spend beyond his means. But, unlike his irrepressible, irresponsible, frequently imprisoned father (Swedish-born John Kantor, descendant of a long line of rabbis, who posed as a Protestant clergyman), Mack was not a cheat, liar, bully or fraud. Though overwhelmed by Mack's warmth, generosity and understanding, his son is nevertheless frank about his father's chronic constipation, wenching, drinking and racial attitudes (``He smelt as much of prejudice'' as he did of cigars and hair tonic). And he acknowledges the truth in the criticism by Mack's publisher Tim Coward that the novelist's later, weaker writing was the product of a man who resolutely refused to grow up, who surrounded himself with people who so admired him personally they were incapable of a sound critical attitude toward him or his work. Despite its sentimentality and occasional overwriting (the son's pitch and resonance are reminiscent of the father's), this is an unputdownable memoir of a larger-than-life author, husband, father and frienda novelist who wrote many books that would be well worth reviving. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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