Philip Wylie

Book review by D. D. Shade

I didn’t read The Disappearance when it was initially published in 1951.  However, I’ve not been able to put out of my mind a book Philip Wylie wrote about a wounded angel that fell to earth.  Was searching for that book (the name of which is buried somewhere in my poor little brain) when I came upon The Disappearance and purchased from

At this point, I’ve read about three-fourths of the book and although I must say that I like Wylie’s writing, I’m not sure what to make of the way he writes about the differences between men and women.  Of course, this was written in the 1950s.

Excerpt from the first page:

The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of February at four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o’clock, Eastern Standard Time.  The event occurred universally at the same instant, without regard to time belts, and was followed by such phenomena as might be expected after happenings of that nature.

To Dr. William Percival Gaunt, as to a large portion (if not a majority) of males, the catastrophe was not immediately, or at least not clearly, manifest; by him, as by multitudes of others, the ensuing incidents were understood only gradually.

It is true that he was watching his wife, Paula, but he was doing so absent-mindedly.  For more than two hours he had been at work in the study of his winter home in the suburban environs of Miami, Florida–at work only in the flimsiest sense of the phrase.  Several large books, many with a secondhand look about them, lay open on his desk.  Amongst and around the books were slips of paper which bore notations in his large, plain script.  Before him was a typewriter.  In its carriage stood the upper halves of three sheets of paper, one white, one yellow, and a carbon between.  Upon these, at the top left-hand corner, was the numeral 7, and the ending of a sentence evidently begun on page 6:

“. . . in consequence of which it may be said that the Hegelian position, the Taoistic opposites, ‘Parallelism,’ and the other dualistic theories, while rising from the same observed causes, do not reflect identical or even similar formulative attempts.”

Beneath this was a space.  After the space, Dr. Gaunt had typed: “Prolix.”

There were several more spaces, then:

“The dopes won’t get to first base with it!”

Beyond that, the paper was barren.


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on December 2, 2009, in Books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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