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The Bookshelf

ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF RECENT AMERICAN TAX POLICY, Gerhard Colm and Fritz Lehmann; New School for Social Research, New York; 108 pages; $1.00; paper bound.

By M. O. P.

AS its title might suggest, Zona Gale's latest novel "Light Woman" provides highly entertaining reading characterized by a note of levity. Although in size the book may only be called a novelette, in substance it is much more than this. Behind many of the seemingly senseless words of Mitty, the central character, lurks a meaning all too true to be dismissed as the talk of a "light woman." She embodies in her philosophy of life much that every modern person has left. Her overpowering self-interest is freely admitted, and despite all opposition to such a characteristic, we somehow excuse it in her. Perhaps it is because she is a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining person in her own right, or because she makes up for it by her frankness and her ability to over shadow this selfishness with her other aimiable qualities, but we cannot condemn her for an instinctive emotion.

Mitty was matched with Nick Beldon because of a misunderstanding, and when the Beldon family heard of it, the couple were invited home. The complications which result from the "little lark" are only heightened by the appearance of Mr. Ratcliffe who has himself played a part similar to Mitty's. He has deserted Anne, Nick's sister, and he is able to detect the sham.

"Light Woman" is better suited to the stage even than to reading. Practically the entire book is conversation and its dramatic qualities are constantly evident. Zona Gale has written two very successful plays, and the adaptability of this novel to the theater is outstanding.

A quotation on the title page from Anna Hempstead Branch adequately sums up the character of Mitty as well as the essence of the whole book:

"All that niceness would forbid

Superb, she smiled upon and did."

For light, entertaining, vacation reading, no book could better suit than "Light Woman." After we close the cover, however, we do not feel that its value lies only in its entertainment qualities. We find that there is "more truth than fiction" in the character and actions of Mitty.

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