AN ACRE OF GRASS by J.I.M. Stewart


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In A Use of Riches Stewart examined the protection and the preservation of the reputation of an English artist-- a bigamist. Here, also, partly by indirection, partly through retrospection, a famous writer, (The Representative English novelist) is buried along side the ""nation's officially certified illustrious dead"" in Westminster Abbey but his irreproachable immortality is by no means assured. Actually the image of The Master had been formed, shaped, and sustained by his wife, Amy. Now, within the circle of his, and her, coterie, distressing memories and actualities rise to the surface: Gilbert Purefoy's pre-marital relationship with a young man, and later, when both he and Amy were well on in middle years, another ambiguous affiliation with a protege. All of this seems to be only too well exposed in his last novel which Amy's close friends, among them John Mandeville-the writer- narrator, feel will destroy her. This time to protect her, rather than the dead man, they conspire and-------. All of this is nicely maintained through the device of the unexpected disclosure (after all, J.I.M. Stewart is Michael Innes) and the tone is carefully consonant with that of the rather advanced years of the narrator: it is formal, a touch sententious, deliberately deliberate. Underneath the decorum, however, there is a solid base of irony.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1965
Publisher: Norton