The Crimson Bookshelf
UNDER THE LINDEN TREE by Thames Williamson, Doubleday, Doran and Co. Garden City, New York. Price $2.50.
THIS adventure in symbolism carries surprising conviction for a book so frankly labelled "A nInterlude." It is the story of the old Fraulein Emma, her cat, her canary, the sleek Karl, and kind aged Wolfgang.
Deep-rooted in lonely Emma's mind is the notion that humans' when they die, are reborn as animals. Beginning with this seemingly absurd assumption, Thames Williamson creates a series of remarkable coincidences which strengthen the old maid's belief, builds them up to a thoroughly dramatic conclusion which will satisfy the reader who has opened the book with some hesitation.
Williamson's art is the exact opposite of the rationalists with their stressing of "natural causes" and "real" emotions. He uses improbable events to produce psychological reactions which are to all intents and purposes valid. The constant struggling of Fraulein Emma's soul to escape the onslaught of what seem to her substantiations of her belief is accurately portrayed, and so too are the characters of yellow-haired Lieal whom she finds singing in the woods after her canary has died, and the unreliable, dark-haired Karl who comes to Fraulein Emma after the death of her cat.
Romantic and imaginative to the last degree, Thames Williamson's book is a most pleasant thing with which to while away an afternoon, a tonic after the ghastly realism of many modern authors.