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THIS is a sea-story that his also the autobiography of a Frisian immigrant. It comes to the public highly commended by no less a critic than the late Edward Bok. Mr. Bok was, however, from the Netherlands himself. It is obvious after reading the book that some prejudice must have crept into his introductory encomium.
"Close-Hauled" is a maiden venture in the field of letters. As such, perhaps it should receive more gentle treatment than a similar work by one of the American pot-holding gentry. There are present many surprising word arrangements, many sprawling sentences, even a few errors in grammar that are apparent to an undergraduate, but then, as the publishers say in a foreword, the manuscript of the book was left unaltered for fear of spoiling the elemental vigor of it all. But if this is damning with faint praise, we'll go further any say that "Close Hauled", granting excuses, is second rate.
There can be no doubt that Mr. Pasma knows the North Sea. The parts of the autobiography concerned with his life as a cabin boy on this most unpleasant of waters is excellent reading. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the book are taken up with incidents of home life among the Frisians, and unless you are planning a summer trip to their region in Holland, there's not much use in going into the subject so deeply. It is conceivable that Mr. Pasma may write sea-fiction in the future which will be of more sustained interest than this record of his Wander-jahre.
The answer to "Where Do Famous Authors Do Their Writing?" has been made by responses varying from "Under an apple tree" to "On a pad hung over the kitchen sink." Cosmo Bamilton, whose new novel. "The Pleasure House," has just been published by Putnam's, admits bravely to a large fiat in a fine old Georgian house in "Pleadilly, London.
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