5 MAY 1923, Page 22

In spite of the constant references of the American publishers

to Miss Edna Ferber's short stories being comparable to those of 0. Henry, the appreciative reader of her long novel, The Girls, will open her present volume with hesitation. It is so annoying to be disappointed in an author whose former work one has liked ; but the collection entitled Among Those • Black Oren. By Gertrude Atherton, London: John Murray. Lis. 8d. net.] Present contains no disappointment. Miss Ferber's stories, I though they may be a little longer than the classical pattern for this form of fiction, always display so keen an insight into Human nature and describe the small incidents of every- day life so enthrallingly that the reader will probably consume the whole of the eight stories at one sitting. The two finest studies are the portrait in "Old Man Minick " of an elderly widower, and "The Sudden Sixties," which is the analysts of the heart of an elderly widow. The irreconcilability of the outlook of parents and their children has never been more poignantly rendered. The old man rebels and strikes out a line of his own, while the end of the story of the grandmother shows her meekly presiding over the illnesses of her grand- children. Miss Ferber sees the world through spectacles that are anything but rose-coloured. Yet she shows the consolation which may be drawn from the little, comfortable affairs of everyday life, and despair is as far from the minds of her characters as ecstasy.