This is included under the "Must Book" classification because of the curious fascination Elizabeth Bowen has for her audience, assuring a predictable sale. From the angle of plot, it scarcely ranks as a novel; rather is it a contrast of two ways of life, an oblique, psychological novel, in the manner of Henry James and Virginia Woolf. The setting is the London home of the Quaynes, febrile, neurotic futilitarians in their middle thirties. They have a certain urbanity and sophistication, but all spontaneity and feeling has gone. Into this artificial atmosphere comes Portia, eager, unworldly, and sets the wheels rolling. In the effect of her innocence on the Quaynes lies the story. It is a provocative, if somewhat rarefied novel, written with a curious tautness, intensity and occasional poignancy and beauty. Important but specialized.