Back to "Home"
Contemporary Reviews - Autumn Sowing E.F.Benson (Sketch by Patrick Hamill)
Contemporary Reviews Home
BOOK REVIEW DIGEST - 1918

BENSON, EDWARD FREDERIC.  Autumn sowing. $1.35 (1 1/2c) Doran 18-1224
 Mr Keeling, a virile and prosperous business man of fifty, of strong Puritan principles, and well-respected in his community, begins at 
the height of his success and prosperity, to feel a sense of dissatisfaction.  He has an expensive home, ugly tho grandly furnished, 
three grownup children, none of them distinguished by any unusual quality, and a sluggish wife, who is a garrulous disconnected talker, and inclined to be snobbish.  In these he finds no companionship, nothing to appease a vague hunger that has arisen in him.  He has, however, his "secret garden," which is his silent name for his library, crowded with beautiful, expensive books.  Here he spends his leisure happily.  But even here he is lonely.  Just as he grows conscious of his vague hunger, he secures a highly efficient young woman as secretary.  She too is fond of books, and, very gradually, begins unknowingly to mean to him the companionship he needs so badly.  She, on her part, at first dislikes him with an intense contempt for his caddish qualities.  This feeling changes into admiration, then into a pure and glowing love, rushing headlong into a passionate alliance, they brush aside the possibility of "what might have been.." 
The girl goes away to London, he plunges deeply into work, each keeping of the other an unsullied memory.
Despite the looseness of its structure, its discursiveness and its sketchy interpretation of even its most important characters, "An Autumn 
Sowing" is by far the best of Mr Benson.s recent social studies.  It is doubtful if he has written anything to equal it since "Sheaves."  In fact, 
he may be congratulated upon approaching somewhat near to the best that is in him as a writer of novels and as an interpreter of character."  E.F.E. 
Boston Transcript p8 Ap24 '18 1550w

"On the whole, it is an impression of deftness, of skilled craftsmanship, which is the dominating one given by this agreeable novel - a quiet, 
sometimes appealing, sometimes humorous story, smoothly written, very well-bred, never particularly moving, perhaps, but always interesting."
N Y Times 23:146 Ap 7 '18 750w

"Mr. Benson's new novel is a proof of his industry and versatility without revealing the qualities which have won him his most resounding popularity. 
It is rather the effort of a capable craftsman to deal with types with which he is only in imperfect sympathy." 
Spec 119:603 N 24 '17 650w

"An autumn sowing. is one of Mr Benson.s characteristically clever, entertaining novels, quiet in action and atmosphere, but with frequent 
flashes of dry humor and satire that add zest to the reader.s pleasure."
Springfield Republican p15 My 26 '18 600 w

[Other reviews:  ALA Bkl 14:300 Je '18 ~ Ath p16 Ja '18 50w ~ Cleveland 
p77 Jl '18 50w ~ The Times [London] Lit Sup p554 N 15 '17 450w ]

 

The contents of EFBenson.co.uk/EFBenson.com © 2000-2009 P.A.Bines, except where otherwise stated
The Paul Bines Online Experience!