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Howard Spring, "Guide to the New Books," Evening Standard

June 28, 1935, p. 22

This is a fragment of autobiography.
Tom Kromer tells us that he is 28, that he was born in West Virginia, that he “went through three years at college” while working for a living and that for two years he taught in mountain schools.
For a long time he has had no work to do. He has become what he calls in the expressive idiom of his book a “stiff.” He has lived by scrounging and sponging. He has contemplated crime and made elaborate preparations to commit it, but his nerve has failed.
He has mixed with the down-and-outs, shared park benches, doss-houses and mission meals, pinched rides on trains, and found himself shoved from pillar to post by the “bulls.”
Theodore Dreiser, who writes an introduction, says that the life Kromer here displays reminds him of Villon’s. There is something in that. This is a terrible book, a revelation that is in itself an indictment.

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