Books

who has written with such beauty and power of life in the boom West, and particularly of a Jewish clothing store family set plump in the middle of that uncongenial atmosphere, has turned another trick now, thus proving himself, as a novelist, of striking versatility. the Story is called “Out of Life” and it is published by Farrar and Rinehart. Its publication adds a fresh laurel to the brow of the young man who wrote “Wide Open Town,” “Singermann” and”The Flitter of an Eyelid.”

Even should you deny that “Out of Life” is a fine human story, you cannot deny that it is a successful tour de force. It is one of those “idea” books which stands or falls according to the novelist’s capacity to put the data and the feel of life into the bare mould of the idea. Whenever I read, about a forthcoming novel, that it is to tell what goes on in the mind of a man during a twenty-four hour period, I in stinctively regard the book as a trick, and not as a real story. But Mr. Brinig has the capacity to turn a trick into a document.

He has taken a drab, middle-aged creature, an ruban nondescript who keeps a store and whom, if you met him on the street, you wouldn’t look at twice. Sam Baggot might be anybody, but he is nobody-certainly in the frist chapter. The action of the entire book takes no more than two days. Most of the first day is spent in a torpor,and only the art of the novelist prevents us from feeling the Same state of near-death which oppresses Sam Baggot. Then his wife tells him that she is to have a child. Sam Baggot comes alive, everything comes alive; he goes out to mect life, he leaps to the moving center of things. He becomes illuminated, incandescent with mind, sensitivity, incandescent with mind, sensitivity, activity.

He who had shrunk from life and from people goes out gladly to meet life and people. He is witness to a death, a riot and a birticular, a dear fricnd, a young man for whom his admiration becomes so intense that he dreams the image of this man into the body of his son-he persuades himself it is to be a son. Little Mr. Milquetoast-for that is what Sam Baggot is essentially-visits a speakeasy and, just for the love of it, pecks a fight with a fellow whom he resents because he rescmbles him as he was before his wife told him. He goes to a gambling dive on Park Avenue and wins money. Life is streaming his way. As he himself puts it in one of his moments of illumination, when a day is meaningful, every hour therein becomes freighted with meaning. The new Sam Baggot is an affirmation of life, whereas the sld one was a walking negation. He loves life and life loves him.

But the spree ended, he returns home, contrite at having lived so grandly on his spiritual and physical spree away from the matrix of the new life committed to his care Then the denouncement, painful but dramatic, the nature of which the reader must learn for himself.

H.S.

“MODERN PALESTINE”

Modern Palestine,” the symposium by Jewish writers on presentday Palestine published by Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist OrgamZation of America, will be discussed by Hadassah groups in 300 cities at a series of Oneg Shabbat. oneg Shabbat is Hebrew for “the pleasure of the Sabbath,” and is a revival of informal Saturday afternoon discussions that are a traditional feature of Jewish life.

The publishers report brisk sales#persons planning to go to Palestine for the Passover holidays in April. Together the essays in the #lume give a comprehensive por#ayal of all phases of life in Palesline, with historical hackground, and should be indispensable to prospective visitors to the Holy Land. The book is sold at Hadassah headquarters, 111 Fifth Avenue, New York.

Dr. Albert Einstein has written the forcword, in which he says: “It is distinctly desirable that Jews in English speaking countries be given an objective presentation of the development work in Palestine, and of its hisiorical background. It seems to me that this task has been admirably accomplished by the present book.”

“BIBLOGUES”

A new book for children between the ages o eight and twelve, was recently published by Behrman’s Jewish Book House, New Yourk. The author, Rabbi Samuel M. Segal. is the Educational Director of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, New York The volume contains twenty-five plays dramatizing the chief incidents in the Five Books of Moses. This constitutes the first volume of four which will cover the entire Bible and Apocrypha.

Dr. Israel Goldstein, Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, wrote both the preface and introduction os this delightful volume.

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