The Company She Keeps

$2.50
By Mary McCarthySIMON & SCHUSTER
A NOVEL, in six apparently unrelated episodes, about lost personality. Margaret Sargent is the product or victim of a forlorn childhood under a Catholic mother, Protestant father, and tyrannical aunt, upon which is superposed a girlhood of too much freedom in an intellectual climate of fashionable ideas and ideals. Whatever is special in her history, however, does not prevent its being representative. Like many another ardent and intelligent youth of the time just past, she has lost all anchorage. Without religion, confused in politics, uncertain in morals, she becomes an experimentalist in all. At last she tries psychoanalysis and finds it the worst solution of all because it seeks to destroy personality in the guise of finding it. Perhaps (one ventures to suggest) the one cure for her misery would have been the old one of solitude amid rural surroundings; but there is not a single reference to animals or flowers or the country, except as background. It is an intelligent book, giving promise of fine things to come. The method and structure give the impression that the chapters were written without reference to one another and then were somewhat high-handedly brought together by means of the tenuous theme of lost personality. The result is discontinuity and lack of cumulative effect. Two episodes — those of Mr. Sheer, the naively knavish dealer in antiques, and of Mr. Pflaumen, “the Genial Host,” a vulgarian who milks the brains of his guests — are especially taking, quite able to stand alone for their humor and truth. R.M.G.
W. H. C. WILLIAM HENRY CHAMBERLIN
E. D. ELIZABETH DREW
W. F. WILSON FOLLETT
R. M. G. ROBERT M. GAY
T. H. T. T. H. THOMAS