13 AUGUST 1927, Page 21

itils., HIGHER THE FEWER. By Arthur Vivian. (Cayme

Press. 7s. i

6d.)—Just at first one is inclined to wonder why Mr. Vivian did not entitle his novel, " The More the Merrier,' since, in addition to the usual quotation, dedication, preface and list of dramatis personae, he includes an extract from a letter explaining what the novel is about and three other prefaces, each in the form of a sonnet. Even then the pre- liminaries are not over and one turns a little wearily to the prologue. There follows another sonnet, and the three first chapters, which might well be described as further prologues. At the end of the book comes another sonnet, then the epilogue and " That is all," says the author, but he cannot resist a note to say that the book was written between January 28th and February 13th, 1925, and he throws in another sonnet. Sandwiched between all this precious bread and butter lies the meat of the novel itself. It is an old story of the drifting apart and coming together again of a highly sensitive couple after some years of married life. Each ` hid his or her feelings and offered the semblance of whatever feelings he or she thought most kind and soothing for the other. It is all highly emotional ; most of the scenes are laid in bedrooms and most of the discussions are of sex. But though this same meat has been cooked again and again, Mr. Vivian has prepared a singularly pungent dish. He has something new, vital and important to say upon an eterpal subject and he says it very well indeed.