14 JUNE 1902, Page 22

The Strange Adventures of John Smith. By William Henry Hudson.

(Sands and Co. 6s.)—If Mr. Hudson had not thought himself capable of achieving that most difficult of all realisms, jocular middle-class realism, he would have produced a very much better book. Could we aldp the conversations of all the other , bank clerks and confine ourselves to the study of poor, vain, worthy John Smith, the book would be a really clever bit of characterisation. Unfortunately, the central idea, which is clever, is overlaid with much that is tiresome ; and as a whole, therefore, the book is not as amusing as it ought to be. The way in which the vanities of poor John are exploited by the company of abominable, and very Bohemian, Nihilists is well conceived if not very well executed. If this book cannot be wholly dismissed as poor, the author owes the fact entirely to his hero, who, in spite of the occasional tedium of his surroundings, compels the indulgent sympathy of the reader.