A NEW novel by the author of Joseph and His Brethren hardly needs recommendation. His Own Place, however, can be specially recommended in times like these because of its theme. Joss Elvin has qualities that seem — if we happen to be depressed by our times — to be both rare and needful: love of the soil, willingness to do hard work with the hands, courage, persistency, simplicity, and cheerful contentment. As a boy he sees and longs to own a deserted farm, Chaffinch’s in Suffolk; as a man he buys and reclaims it, doing all the work himself; and, when opportunities offer to gain ease and affluence by leaving it, he prefers a sufficiency with independence to plenty under town ownership. Anyone who shares Joss’s passion for plants and animals will read the descriptions of his little farm with warmth about the heart. But for other tastes there are chapters about his adventures as bouncer in a bar in East London. They are short and simple annals mercifully short and finely simple — recorded with humor and truth.
R. M. G.