27 APRIL 1956, Page 30

From Their Experiences

THE PIT AND THE CENTURY PLANT. By Pati Hill. (Gollane-, 1 CRISIS COTTAGE. By Geoffrey Willans. (Michael Joseph, 12s.,.0 IN the 1940s the American musical comedy went rural (for "or high-point wasn't Oklahoma! but a song, in a show never ti oP ported to England, entitled, 'A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wieeloi, thou, baby'), and so did one of our slickest commercial nov irri Mr. Louis Bromfield. Acquaintance with Mr. Bromfields bort fiction didn't fire me to read the works he now began to write ;301 his Ohio farm, of whiCh From My Experience is the fourIbb• oos was wrong in supposing that he was grinding out blue-nle€Y This new one is a serious discussion, often heavy going, °I °Oisell farming. The argument, briefly, is for the abandonment of P_, , ous sprays in favour of a more painstaking rehabilitation 1,1; soil by methods which Mr. Bromfield describes in close deto„:1S experience was that in a healthy soil the problem of pests itself : the same insects that devoured undernourished plantstror t blankly uninterested in robust ones. Technical chapters


ill sued development, latest designs in ploughs and tillers, and economics of American farming alternate with descriptions of seti; Bromfield's second farm in Brazil and some modest, b weilzer-and-water ruminations upon Life. It is a very earnest 0ok.

Preach Pati Hill left fashion-modelling in Paris to hide away in the eArieb countryside. She likes her shrewd peasant neighbour Madame Joumard and hunting wild strawberries and washing her be's in a brook, but dislikes nasty old commas preferring to NM ahead pellmell until she arrives at a full stop. With a bump. it„/%1 broken phrases for a while. Virginia Woolf with the th,tups. s, Effect deplorable. . . . But once you master its eerie by ms, The Pit and the Century Plant is a charming and sensitive e,rnal. Miss Hill observes keenly; and her feelings are so open th;Perfeedy,unabashed that she has managed one of the hardest in writing : the communication of joy. 1448(5 Cottage is built of familiar bricks. The walls are crumbling yhrepairman is villainous. Geese ravage the lettuce garden etie the narrator slopes toward bankruptcy. Luckily Mr. 118°14eY Willans is a nimble writer; more often than not, he turns rtei!l°cIr emergencies into something fresh and funny. Some ikelniscences of the hostilities-1 do not use the word "war" 4411se at its mere mention . . . a glaze of boredom falls, like ltihes over a lizard's eyes, on most people's ex WALTER a