Books: The Way Things Were

A MINGLED YARN (172 pp.)—H. M. Tomlinson—Bobbs-Merrill ($3.50).

H. M. (for Henry Major) Tomlinson is a gentle ironist of 80 with the face of a benign gnome surprised at his own meditations. In his day, this mild Londoner has been bracketed with Conrad as a great writer of the sea, with Thoreau as a stubborn searcher for truth. Beginning with his first book (The Sea and the Jungle) in 1912, a whole generation of critics gushed over his prose style, and not without reason. It was a vehicle that could take a reader anywhere and leave plain tracks in the memory for...

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