13 MARCH 1953, Page 26

ELIZABETH BERRIDGE'S new novel is a great pleasure, the more

so because it is so different from and so much better than her last. Then one had the impression that she was writing to some standard that• wasn't naturally her own, and this was galling to the reader, because there was obviously some other standard at which she was capable of writing well. Upon Several Occasions shows plainly what it is. This is a book about six months in the life of a village on the Welsh border, a fully invented village of individual people who still mirror common life. There is Mady Barnard who has retreated so far into a fantasy-world that she dare not emerge to reality; Frank Weldon who works on the forestry estate and finds that trees mean more to him than people; there is the vicar and his rival, the nationalist chapel minister, who find they can come together more readily than some of their parishioners can. With- out pretension or melodrama, but with sympathetic insight and observation, Miss Berridge has written a very pleasant book.

M. L.