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October 12, 1924 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 10-12-1924

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Books and Writers



After College

NMl1EN C(EMElNT. By Ernest Brace.
Jarper & Brothers. 1924. $2.00.
As the purveyors of romance avoid
at relatively uneventful area fol-
wing on courtship, so have the prac-
loners of the poplar "college novel"
mly eschewed the unromantic year
er graduation. Romance does not
ten upon Clisillusionment; and it
evident from the nature of its pur-
se that the college novel, even the
ost successfully realistic, is spang-
d with youth's Illusion.
Mr. Braces's Commencement is a
llege novel in the respect that the
thor hails evidently from an insti-
tion of higher education as does
s hero. Yet it departs from the
stom of tricking out therfamiliar
'mula of romance with the newer
d smarter idiom of college and col-
d$ ways and means. Those readingI
the almost inumerable pages of
Ilegiate fiction now coming from
c press must sometimes wonder
at becomes of the hero after four
gauded years. It is not too much
say that this is it.
Perhaps the best that can be said
r Mr. Brace is that he has sensed'
e possibilities for a story in the
oblematical year that begins with
mnencement. He has had the cour-
e, if ,you want to call it that, to
en his story outside the sideshow
graduation exercises. Gregory
.rumm is launched in life and the
legiate elms know him no more
fore the initial chapter is done.
is is a new field-so far as I am
are-an interesting one, and one
tich Mr. Brace has not exhaustedl
th the crop of fiction he has
>l' On it.

Based on the notorious Franks' mur-
der case, it is a sordid affair indeed.
Out 0 The West Here Dr. Lewis waxes'most didactic
and expatiates upon the error of giv-
ing youths too much money and un-
employed time. But be that as it
SALLIE'S NEWSPAPER. By Edwin may, Sallie breaks her engagement to
Herbert Lewis. Hyman-McGee, Jim. Why the crime should in any
Chicago. 1924. effect the matrimonial projecttis most
I difficult to detect. Only on the last
We may count this among that mul- page does Sallie remark, "I am the
titude of non-significant novels that daughter of cousins, and cannot be
have recently come out of Chicago. sure that my children would not be
'he first chapter loses us in a maze neurotic. I am still worth more than
,)f family relationships more discon- two millions and if I had children I
uerting than the opening verses of would probably ruin them." With
the New Testament. Thereafter we these words, Sallie informs Jim of
mush through the slush of three hun- her intention to remain single. Jim,
dred pages of irrelevant commentar- that persistent lover, appears as hard
les on current events, irrelevant dis- hit by thisannouncement as if he had
sertations on theology, innane dia- just read that the Tsi-Chung troops
logue, and insufficiently motivated ac= had captured Ying Yang. And thus
tion. True, there are spasmodic the story ends on the same page, with
flashes of a certain literary capacity Sallie going to England to spend her
as displayed by Dr. Lewis in his best two millions and Jim getting a posi-
work, "Those Above Trench", and tion as hired man on a farm.
"S allie's Newspaper" is pervaded by a' No chiaracter was' a real, thinking,
good sense of the local Wisconsin at-s
mosphere but we count the pages of talking person but rather an auto-
this latter worth to the end. s maton, sometimes running to type but
The locale-the small town of d.- as frequently expressing the most
Thk localetheGrsmayrognoSeg- hetrogenous ideas. Their matter of
ankuin the Green Bay region of factness was boring except on certain
Wisconsin.t occasions when it became so brutally
The thread of the tale, as it cam n frank as to hold the attention.
best be ferreted out of an amazing k
array of complications and loose con- Dr. Lewis should be commended on
structions-Sallie Flower, the last of the clever way in which he used
the wealthy and respected family of newspaper articles in the "Sun" to
Flowers, returns from California to carry on the narrative and relay de-
the village of her nativity in. Wiscon- tailed information to the reader. On
sin to manage her inherited interests. the whole, however, the technique is
Among these interests is the Segan- poor and the sequence of action il-
ku "Sun." So in this connection she logical. And so this very poor plot
is thrown into contact with Jim capsuled in a middling-fair literary
Fletcher, the young editor. Propin- style comes out of the west for the
quity breeds a mutual. affection but world's attention.
Dromillard Schmit, an ambitious -Frank Deans.
young business executive and man
about town, casts his hat into the The Stepladder, published by the
ring and provides Jim with the most Order of Bookfellows (Chicago) con-
keen competition. After much in- tains two items of local interest: The
trigue involving some twenty-five announcement for publication of The
chara~cters, Dromillard is eliminated Legend of the Book by Eloise Street
and Jim is on a clear road to cap and Gilbert Doane, a history of book-
ture the rather homely, but attrac- iaking in blank verse; and an article
tive and wealthy, Sallie. But a hein- about the poetry of Richard Kirk who,
ous crime committed by two young one edited the Gargoyle's forebear,
men change the course of events. The Wrinkle.

CITADEL. By Joseph lusbtand; pub.
lished by 'Houghton Mifflin Co.,
"From the high bulwark in the
waist ofathe brig, John Bush watched
the boat of Monsieur Samatan pull
steadily toward the shore."-
Taking a mental half-titch on my
imagination, I waded (figuratively
speaking), into the yarn of history,
romance, adventure on the high seas
and the court of a Negro king. Even-
tually I laid the book aside and tried
to trace the plot through in my mind.
An hour later I was still trying.
Citadel is like that. It holds your
attention, interests you, and leaves
you only with a vivid panorama of
sea fights, toiling slaves, duels, moon-

lit gardens, death rings and wild rides
at quite indecent hours of the night.)
The plot is quite a simple one-thatf
it, it follows the expected course and
closes with the conventional fade-out,
but it loses footing as the mad es-
capeds of the characters whirl them
from peril to safety and back again.c
John Bush is an interesting char-
acter with the luck of a second Leif
Ericson. Born a Quaker, he leaves;
home by request, the reader infers,I
and the plot opens with him in the!
port of Le Cap in French Haytian San
Domingo in the last month of 1814.
As a vivid narrative history of San
Domingo at that time, the book is a
masterpiece. The rule of terror under
the Negro king who could neither
read nor write is depicted with a
grim reality. The 'duel on the rimi of
the citadel fortress ofthe king is con-
vincing enough, but the escapes of the
hero at times border on the disgust-

ing. Miracles of that sort are to be
expected when one picks up a novel
of some diminutive foreign nation and
her stalwart American savior, but the
Graustarkian heroics seem out of
place in the historical novel of Mr.
Husband. The story may even be a
true one, for truth is oftenestranger
than fiction, and under that definition,
Citadel may be written from fact.
The heroine, Mademoiselle Virginia,
wholly feminine, charmingly helpless,!
adds the required universal touch-
the "whole world's skin" sentiment
evidently necessary to the success of.
an historical novel.
There are some parts of th'e storyl


which are vague and hard to under-
stand. One wonders how Huggett gets,
back to Le Cap, and how Virginia
makes her final escape undetected.
The whole tone of the work is
tinged with excitement, so that these
uncertainties go unnoticed until the
reader thinks over the story.
Scribner's announce that Arthur
Train, in preparing to write "The
Needle's Eye," which is about the.
West Virginia coal fields, studied the
situation for two years, "reading
every report about soft coal and the
bituminous coal situation."




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Mlr. B3race is only an average writer
nd he is further handicapped by hav-
ng not settled in his pwn mind the
-A.ues of the world of busiless in
viich,'the cpilege man finds himself,
n graduation. He. has turned his
)ack'on the easily dramatized univer-
ity scene with the drama and variety
f its hot-house life, the world of
alues with which he is no doubt
nore familiar. The four years of
chool are comparatively united tow-
rd a definite goal; an individual,
moving; through them., goes in certain
onventional ways. After commence-
Went this unity departs from his life
nd from his soul; he is a ship afloat
n an' uncharted ocean. All the train-
ig of his immediately past four years
apparently at variance with the
equirmeents of his present circum-
ances. It is a period tangled and
>nfused by subtle inhibitions, a dif-
cult material for a beginning writer.
The handling of this material in
ie present example is not remark-
ble; the" author's style is common-
ace, obstructed by a frequent infel-
ity of phrase. His people are not
ifornied with the breath of art that
ould make them individuals instead
the types they are. Their actions
:c interesting and remarkable; how-'
er", for the saving grace of the book:
at it is the story of a college man
ter college.

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