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THE CRIMSON BOOKSHELF

According to Gibson: by Denis Mackall. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 1923. $2.00

By J. A. B.

"According to Gibson" is a collection of short stories. As such, the stories are not particularly fascinating. However, Mr. Mackail--an English author who seems really to have an understanding of America--has managed to present the stories in such a charming manner and has woven such an interesting tale about the supposed teller of the stories that the book successfully holds one's interest throughout.

Gibson, who tells the stories to the author, is nothing short of a modern Baron Munchausen, and has nothing to be jealous of as far as the latter is concerned. In brief his tales are obviously nothing but mild lies, or flights of a distorted imagination which Gibson lets run riot whenever the author seems to be on hand. Everything is covered in the course of the nine stories for which Gibson is responsible, from an inebriated Kentucky Colonel's affair with a "lady of the ensemble" to an H. G. Wells tale of a machine in which one sees what has happened in the past by delaying the journey of light rays. Murder, royal jewels, ghosts, all find their place in the volume; some of the stories are exceedingly droll, one is gripping, several are mediocre and one or two are asinine. On the whole, however, the stories are braced up by the ingenious manner in which the reader becomes interested in the teller of the stories--Gibson himself--rather than in the stories, and it is really to follow him through, to see why he tells these absurd lies and to find out what becomes of him that the book is read to the end; as individual stories they are mediocre, as a collection of stories they become interesting.

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