19 JULY 1957, Page 32


SIR,—What odd company Mr. Bayley makes Forrest Reid keep! The remark would scarcely be worth making were it not that the impression of Reid which Mr. Bayley conveys is very much that which I had picked up before I actually read him, and which might easily have prevented me from reading him. When I did, I discovered a writer of limited range, certainly, and one who may well provoke more than average disagreement as to his magnitude, but by no means an esoteric or eccentric writer. That his best work is good as far as it goes I can hardly imagine any competent judge denying. Perhaps I can put the point in this way, citing another novelist for whom I am conscious of having a strong personal liking : if Forrest Reid is a minority taste, he is so in the same way as Mark Rutherford is—em- phatically not (to follow the line of thought that Mr. Bayley's collocations suggest) as Baron Corvo is.— Yours faithfully,