15 MAY 1915, Page 24


[Notice in this column doss not necessarily preclude subsequent review.]

Boon (T. Fisher Unwin, 6s.) is a work of an ambiguous character. Its title-page runs as follows : "Boon, The Mind of the Race, The Wild Asses of the Devil, and The Last Trump ; being a first selection from the literary remains of George Boon, appropriate to the times, prepared for publication by Reginald Bliss, author of The Cousins of Charlotte Bronte; A Child's History of the Crystal Palace,' Firelight Rambles,' Edible Fungi,' Whales in Captivity,' and other works ; with an ambiguous introduction by H. G. Wells." In his intro- duction Mr. Wells protests against being assumed to be the author of the work. He declares that ho has not read the book through, " though I have a kind of first-hand knowledge of its contents." He confesses, moreover, to "a; certain inseparable intimacy between Mr. Reginald Bliss and myself." But if under pressure we concede the separate existence of Reginald Bliss, even Mr. Wells does not ask us to believe in the objective reality of George Boon. We are told that he was a very well-known author, whose works bad immense popularity, especially in America, but who really wrote his novels with his tongue in his cheek. Mr. Bliss for the first time reveals his true opinions, and publishes some fragments of his serious work. Apart from the paraphernalia of mystery surrounding its origin, Boon is not a very elaborate book. It is for the most part a satire upon contemporary literature, full of high spirits, but not of subtlety. Among its more amusing episodes we may mention an imaginary conversation between Mr. George Moore and Mr. Henry James. Towards the end of the volume the scope of the satire widens, and the whole structure of society is criticized upon lines that will be familiar to readers of Mr. Bliss's other works.