A SECULAR JOURNAL, by Thomas Merton (Hollis and Carter, 15s.).
ASOMEWHAT slight book for 15s., but this is not to say that the opinions expressed in it are slight. Certainly the encomium of Gethsemani-"the only real city in America"-istoo exaggerated to be very convincing.
It is, however, understandable in the author, in the same way as a young man enthuses over his best girl when to outsiders she may he a very ordinary and commonplace individual. A very valuable piece of advice is given on pages 18-21: Stop asking whether a book or play is written by a Catholic. Is it a good book or a good play? That is all that matters. It would be as sensible to enquire whether the author was dark or fair.
SOME years ago I overheard two priests asking whether a certain restaurant in Walsingham
was Catholic. Could anything have been more ridiculous? As if the religion or the moral character of the proprietor could affect the quality of the "joint and two veg" Equally salutary is the well deserved and brilliant satire on Terry's guide to Mexico (pp. 2124). The smug Pharisee who "thanked God that he was not even as these Dagos" is justly trounced.
Much in the book should be "inwardly digested". An admirable bedside book for visitors, if any reader can afford the luxury in this democratic Year of Grace, ARCHDALE A. KING