ANYONE who is able to find tongues in trees, books, in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything may derive some pleasure from "Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers." Likewise those who agreed with James Branch Cabell that "The Hard-boiled Virgin" is "the most profound book yet written by any American woman" may condone Miss Newman's latest tour de force as one of the minor sins of genius. To the rest of the public, including this reader, however, this new novel is as unreadable as the former one; the author has possibly proved that dead lovers are faithful lovers but in the process she has once more given evidence that all sentences are not intelligible sentences, that an esoteric style is frequently an abominable style, and that dull books are bad books.
Miss Newman undoubtedly possesses a gift for social satire. Given a training in the rudiments of good English and deprived of her more erotically minded heroines she should be able to turn out something quite amusing in the way of an acid commentary of life as it is lived by the landed gentry south of the Mason Dixon line. Many of her observations in "Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers" are shrewd, tart, and occasionally funny. But her quips, weighted as they are beneath a style which apparently goes back to Caedmon and Cynewulf for its model, have a difficult struggle to survive. They decorate but unfortunately do not obliterate the story, which is negligible and deals with a lady with the amorous sensibilities of a Belgian hare and a gentleman, her husband, who man ages to wander through the entire book without demonstrating any personality whatever. On the whole "Dead Lovers Are Faithful Lovers" is a very good book to avoid. In all fairness, however, it must be admitted that the binding, is pretty and the general ensemble attractive.
The Viking Press, rounding out its third year of publishing, announces an interesting list of books scheduled to appear next Fall Ford Madov Ford is contributing a new historical romance. "A Little Less than Gods", and T. F. Powys follows up his "Mr Weston's Good Wine" of this Spring, with a group of short stories The little blue volumes of "Sakis" short stories which are beginning to recover and enlarge upon then pre-war popularity in England will receive another addition next fall.