Opus 21

by Philip Wylie.Rinehart, $3.00.
Mr. Wylie has begun to look remarkably like a low-brow Aldous Huxley preaching salvation within the framework of slick magazine fiction. The salvation is the gospel according to Jung as interpreted, misinterpreted, and amended by Wylie. The fiction, in this case, has to do with the missionary activities of a novelist who is told he has cancer and spends a long week-end waiting for the laboratory report in a New York hotel.
The hero’s well-chosen words on the subject of Instinct solve the problems of (a) a young lady who has left her homosexual husband (she is made to see she is inclined that way herself, which reconciles her to her mate); and (b) the hero’s nephew, who wishes to marry a reformed call girl (the call girl is induced to demonstrate that her old career appeals to her more than marriage). Meanwhile, the hero proves by his example that one can believe man is an animal and still behave with positively quaint propriety: the young ladies, though extremely luscious, don’t get to first base with him, and not for the lack of trying. All this is set down with the sustained frenzy which is Mr. Wylie’s special claim to distinction.
A staunch admirer of Generation of Vipers, I find a good many of Mr. Wylie’s ideas uncommonly sound, and his objectives laudable. As a crusader, though, he is less than lucid; and as a novelist, he is less than adequate.