15 MAY 1936, Page 38

WORDS FOR TONIGHT By George Buchanan

Mr. Buchanan has continued the journal and commentary of which his Passage through the Present gave a first instal- ment some years ago. Some of the paragraphs in his new book (Constable, 5s.) have appeared previously in his column as " Brevier " of the News chronicle ; they do not combine altogether well with his more personal and more serious comments, but it is encouraging that a daily paper can print commentary of such value. Mr. Buchanan himself has interesting criticism to make of journalism, as of broad- casting, but he is chiefly concerned to catch the sense and tone of life as it passes him by. It would perhaps be a fair criticism that, intent on sense and tone, he misses the sub- stance, if he did not also show that he wishes to use his position as an observer to make something more out of himself. In the later passages this intention is more obvious, and he is deeply concerned not only to define an attitude, but to come to some permanent and satisfactory compromise with life. It is his merit that he conveys the difficulty of reaching such a compromise, and also that the life he describes is one of every day, of newspapers, cinemas, politics, books, friends and rumours of wars. He does not exaggerate, and perhaps the journal form he has adopted allows him a liberty, perhaps even a looseness, of thought which he would not allow himself if his comments were to be taken as final.