A Pride of Lions

by John Brooks.Harper, $3.50.
The subject of this second novel by John Brooks — author of one of the better first novels of 1950 The Big Wheel — is a young New Yorker’s conflict with the old-fashioned family background he has broken away from. A letter which suggests to him that something is seriously wrong with his father’s health causes Tom Osborne, editor in a Manhattan publishing house, to make a trip to East Bank, a small town whose oldest families, such as the Osbornes, still love to dwell on the glory their ancestors won in the Revolutionary War. Tom’s father, whose stubborn resistance to change ruined his career, has long seemed to his son a remote. rigid, and rather absurd figure, governed by snobbish prejudices and an antiquated set of values. East Bank represents to Tom a part of himself that he is somewhat ashamed of — he cannot bring himself to invite the girl he loves to meet his family. In the climax of the story. Tom finally breaks through to an understanding of his father that brings with it compassion and respect — and a fuller acceptance of himself. The novel is pitched in a minor key, and it is a bit lacking in impact. But Brooks is an intelligent and likable writer; he has a clean, firm prose style and handles his characters well.