By W. J. IGOE
THE PLOUGH AND THE HARROW, by Cornelia Jessey (Hann, 16s.). FULF1LMENT is the theme of this novel, the fulfilment of a young girl's Jewishness in Christianity. A quiet book, it tells an occasionally tragic story with compassion, gently humorous and with an appreciation of timeless values that makes it almost "spiritual" reading. A woman stands in a cemetery before a grave-stone on which is carved the Star of David and the name Jesse Bright. The family name had been ben Hayim. Luz and Sonnig till they came on the long pilgrimage eluding pogrom, to America. They honoured scholarship, the Rabbinical tradition the y accepted the pedlar's pack and worked to establish their families. The. woman, Consuela, in the grave-yard was named so because they are proud of their Spanish ancestry. Jesse, her father, loved Christ, but clung with stubborn loyalty to his people. With delicate skill the authoress creates the American milieux where Jesse wandered, the sidewalks of New York, the arid spaces of Arizona. the gaudy settlements of the West Coast. She weaves into her heroine's meditations the joys and sorrows of Jewry and the impact upon a deeply religious people of the sad little hooligans who, proclaiming themselves Christian. hlasphemously persecute Christ's people.
BUT there are other influences and The Plough and the Harrow, informed by them, moves towards its end in which it strikes a note blended of Jewish and Catholic comedy. "So you know what I think, Sufic? I think maybe papa and me will get the mats by the eastern wall in heaven. Why not'? After all, lots of Jews there will be with a rabbi a son, but how many with a daughter a nun?" This is a good and enjoyable book and I recommend it.
On a par with A 1 ice Meynell
NYMPH IN THY ORISONS, poems by Wrenne Jarman (St. Albert's Press, 16s.; limited edition, 250 printed.) ALL the way through Wrenne Jarman's poetry 1 was reminded of Alice Meynell. She has the same kind of spiritual awareness, the same eagerness. the same humanity. The differences arise out of period-Miss Jarman is a product of post-war times, Alice Meynell of a pre-war era. It shows the taste and discrimination of the St. Albert Press to have chosen to present these moving poems to an appreciative readership. This paper-covered collection is generously produced-a poem on a page-typographically austere and visually pleasing. It is only regrettable that it will not reach a wider public.