Lynn Bentley

The Lost And The Sublime

Lynn Bentley writes about falling in love and getting married young. Tony and Sharon are immature and selfish. Their passion for each other is immense, but so is their need to have nice things, go nice places, and be admired. Neither of them is willing to take responsibility for themselves, their relationship, or their financial stability.

This does not make them particularly likeable as characters. They are not malicious, but they are stuck in a sort of adolescent world and sliding toward addiction without a care. They miss the moment when one transitions from kids with no worries to adults with responsibility and the desire to consider someone besides themselves.

After the freedom of youth there sets in a period of intense and intolerable complexity…But by the late 60’s the business has grown too intricate, and what has hitherto been imminent and confusing has become gradually remote and dim. Routine comes down like twilight on a harsh landscape, softening it until it is tolerable. The complexity is too subtle, too varied; the values are changing utterly with each lesson of vitality; it has begun to appear that we can learn nothing from the past with which to face the future.  We cease to be impulsive, convincible people, interested in what is ethically true by fine margins, we substitute rules of conduct for ideas of integrity, we value safety above romance, we become, quite unconsciously, traditional.

This book is incredibly timely. Here is a novel about young love, about the tenuous line between riches and poverty, about a young man who graduates from college, can’t decide what to do with his life, and then can’t find a job. Bentley’s insight is that it resonated with his peers — those of old money whose world was changing rapidly — and it resonates with the current generation that is watching their dreams fall aside to the economic and social realities of our day.

As always, Bentley writes honestly of both the decadence of the wealthy few and the despair, of the many in poverty. He also acknowledges that many ideas for this book came from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Beautiful And Damned. While this novel may be at its heart about a married couple that likes to have a good time, The Lost and the Sublime is a serious look at the effect self involvement and money (or the lack thereof) can have on so many and on a marriage.
118 printed pages
Original publication
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