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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 11 (February 1, 1938)



“The Hedge Sparrow,” by C. R. Allen (A. H. & A. W. Reed, Wellington and Dunedin) is the second novel by the brilliant Dunedin writer. In craftsmanship the new novel is superior to the first; in interest it is not so compelling. At the same time there may be many who will aver that the second book is more interesting because of its political theme and its pictures of the spirit and manners of the period. The plot covers that time when politics were very much in the minds of all classes, the time of Richard Seddon. The thoughts and actions of the principal characters are aptly summed up in the two lines from “King Lear” printed on the title page:

The hedge-sparow fed the cuckoo so long,

That it had its head bit off by its young.

The location of the plot is once more in Dunedin, and who knows his Dunedin better than C. R. Allen? In construction, atmosphere and simplicity and economy of words the novel is much ahead of many overseas novels coming to this country. I sincerely hope that this book meets with even greater success than “A Poor Scholar,” which has sold so well that it is now available in a cheaper edition.

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“Exit Miss Emily,” by Nina Murdoch (Angus & Robertson, Sydney) is the third and final episode in the life of that delightful creation, of the authoress of “Seventh Heaven,” Miss Emily Sawkins. The many readers page 55 of the two earlier books will remember the kind hearted resourceful spinster and will welcome this third book. Without spoiling the story it might be stated in advance for the admirers of Miss Emily that the happiness she has given to many is rewarded by a great happiness in her own heart.

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“Blinky Bill and Nutsy,” by Dorothy Wall (Angus & Robertson, Sydney) contains further adventures of that quaint creation “Blinky,” also of “Nutsy,” a little Koala girl, and “Splodge,” a kangaroo and “a gentleman of the bush.” The latest adventures arise through Blinky's escape from the Zoo with the people mentioned. There is heaps of fun and Interest in what follows. The book has been attractively produced and is illustrated charmingly by the authoress.

“The Golden Bird,” by Dorothy Tanner, B.A. (Harry H. Tombs, Wellington) is a fairy play for children. There is in it an atmosphere of Lewis Carroll, particularly the incident about the golden apples that had to be preserved for the Show because they were listed in the catalogue. A charming play, nicely told. There are full stage instructions. It is recommended by the Wellington Children's Players. The publishers are to be praised for the get-up of the booklet which is illustrated in colour and black and white.

“Out of the Shadows,” by “Bertriel” (Hand-craft Press, Wellington) is described as “A Phantasy in Two Panels.” It deals with the question of communication between the living and the dead. The author believes that the dead can bring comfort to the living. How, though, about the comfort the living may bring to the dead?

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“Seventy Years In and Around Auckland,” by George C. Beale (A. H. & A. W. Reed) is yet another book of personal reminiscences by an old New Zealander. An ultra-patriotic Welling-tonian might say that the title is nothing to boast about, but the average intelligent reader will admit that Mr. Beale has compiled a readable book. His memories of the early days of Auckland province are most interesting. The author is in his eighty-second year. The book is illustrated and (collectors note) the first edition is limited to 500 copies.