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Literary Guild selection for March plus Booth Tarkington's name, which still has some of the old magic (witness the sales on Kate Fennigate, 1943) -- will combine to start off this new novel with great eclat. Fortunately, it is a better book, on many counts, than most of his work of recent years, less machine-made. One could wish, however, that he would go back to the period, he knew as well, to characters (like ""Alice Adams"") when he knew at first hand, for his moderns have a derivative feel as if he get them second hand. They never become an integral part of their set. This new book uses as background an art museum -- and there he speaks authoritatively, and puts into his characters' conversation some of his own feelings on the subject of the moderns versus the classical, and the place of art appreciation in the world today. Against this setting, he tells the story of a wounded veteran, went to the as assistant in an attempt to restore his shattered nerve. There's no of unrest which he seeks to ignore, until the cause of it, Josephine, his own cousin and the arbiter of the fates of all connected with the museum, on designated by their mutual grandfather, its donor, returns from her holiday to disrupt the surface peace of his new world. She has acquired the of a dictator, self-countered, ruthless, unimaginative. And Bailey becomes a part of her scheme of things. An off-again, on-again romance -- a complete recovery of himself as a result of shock technique applied by Josephine (most unexpectedly ) -- and a straight-from-the shoulder revelation of what her world thinks her to be contributed by Bailey, her out of her imposed role and at the close, there's a glimpse of something being the accepted ""image of Josephine"" -- a hope for a future. Readable tale, if not too perceptive, psychologically.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1945
Publisher: Doubleday, Doran