Party Going

byHenry Green. Viking, $3.00.
This early novel of Henry Green’s, published in England at the end of the twenties, gets off to a slightly confusing and rattier sclf-consciously experimental start. But thereafter, admirers of Henry Green should find it utterly enchanting: a divertissement incongruously drenched in fog; a frivolity full of serious perceptions.
A group of smart young Londoners (very smart and very young), who are going off together for a holiday on the Riviera, find themselves caught in a dense fog at the station with the trains not running. They adjourn to the station hotel, hire several suites, and wait for the fog to lift. In the few hours that follow. Henry Green reveals them to us as a fine novelist should — that is, by telling nothing and suggesting very much. We see how close their extreme sophistication is to extreme innocence; we see the very human fears and uncertainties and longings that go into their mindless chatter. Somehow the story drags with the tedium of waiting, breathes petulance and strain: and at the same time it sparkles with youth and a rich sense of possibility. There is no tallying the novels which have portrayed the Bright Young Things of the twenties. Party Going is one of the very best.