20 OCTOBER 1961, Page 15

SIR,—Is a spry,' cynical and barely literate smartness the only

qualification for a reviewer in the Spectator nowadays? Mi. Julian Mitchell, after eight lines of far from factually accurate description of Mr. R. C. Hutchinson's image of My Father, sums the book up as 'a grinding read.'

Surely a novelist of Mr. Hutchinson's stature deserves from the Spectator something better than childish vulgarity. Mr. Hutchinson has been writing novels since 1930; they inclUde books of a durable distinction, such as Recollection o/ a Journey and The Unlorgotten Prisoner. He is a serious artist who, so far as I know, has never written a shoddy line. This is the way in which, with incomprehension and discourtesy, a supposedly responsible journal dis- misses his work.

Since the standards by which both art and conduct are judged nowadays are quaint, perhaps I ought to add that I have never met Mr. Hutchinson in my life. Such a statement ought to be unnecessary, but it obviously isn't.