3 JANUARY 1931, Page 29

THE ISLE OF DREAMES. By H. F. Birkett. * (Hutchin- son.

7s. 6d.)—In this book Mr. Birkett continues his chron- icles of the North-country town of Overton. The parochial self-satisfactions of others are seldom endearing, and, though Mr. Birkett smiles at Overtonian patriotism, there is mere than a twist of complacency in his smile. The book is a series of episodes and short stories, many of them good enough, if only Mr. Birkett would learn to leave well alone. The first story, and " Fate "—to name only two—are conspicuous examples of promising material ruined by the continuous interposition of the author's ego. " I " this, and `i I " that : " as I review the story, weigh up as far as I can their per- sonalities.. . ." No incident is left to speak for itself, and each interposition results in a deluge of platitudes. " Perhaps I take a too Olympian view," suggests Mr. Birkett, in one place. We congratulate him on the adjective. Several others would have occurred to us sooner.