Subtitled Remembrances and Criticism, these essays combine both- and use a varying slight, or as in the case of Katherine Anne Porter, longstanding, acquaintance with the author as prefatory introduction to that writer's work. The ""remembrances"" are personal, pleasant, and for the most part peripheral; the criticism while extensive, particularly in the discussion of Colette and Mann, is never profound. An opening piece on Fiction Writing in a Time of Truth deals with the displacement, homelessness, and anxiety of the modern writer and there are perhaps private intimations here. There's the ""delicate health and indomitable strength"" of Katherine Anne Porter as well as other ""warring forces"" within her; Maugham's likelihood of survival- ""do not mistake simplicity for insignificance""; the sensuousness, clarity, elegance and expressiveness of Colette; the strangeness and special charm of Isak Dinesen- ""the effect of genius... is to transport"": Mann's will power, or resoluteness, its virtues and liabilities- Mann whom he respects rather than enjoys; and finally Thornton Wilder.... On the whole, Wescott is too evenly admiring to be a altogether stimulating as a critic; his commentary becomes blurred by meaningless, migratory phrases: i.e. re Mann- ""his independent interests began to appear and to develop: a kind of overarching zenith and encircling horizon and all-embracing climatic condition and constant well-focused bird's-eye view and summarizing spectrum.