Bethel Merriday

By Sinclair Lewis
THE old master is back again with as sure a touch as ever and with a new and charming restraint. ‘The Public’ expects every novel by Sinclair Lewis to be a Social document, an exposé of this or that sham in our national life, and perhaps ‘The Public’ will be disappointed by this novel which attacks nothing and nobody. It is the story of a group of troupers who play Romeo and Juliet in modern dress and go broke in the process. Some of them are weary pros, some are hams, some are starry-eyed amateurs, but all of them are excited exponents of an art and all of them are valid and real human beings. Young Bethel Merriday, an eager amateur with theatre in her blood, is the most attractive and the most convincing heroine Mr. Lewis has ever drawn. The story of this touring company is told with definitive mastery of narrative technique; the author successfully sustains an excitement on the reader’s part and yet writes with a gentleness which one does not associate with Mr. Lewis. This new simplicity of approach is in no way soft or sentimental; it is rather the work of a matured artist writing about the kind of people and the kind of work he really loves. This is a fascinating novel, and a very acute study and presentation of the upper, middle, and lower levels of that strange, self-conscious race, the strolling players of the world.