Booth Tarkington's remarkable gift for making commonplace people interesting was never more evident than in this new novel, Claire Ambler, which has just been issued as the first publication of the Doubleday-Doran merger. As in The Plutocrat, the theme is (at least in large part) the performance of an American type in contact with European civilization. But the protagonist of Claire Ambler is an American girl, beautiful and wealthy, as confident of the power of her beauty as the Plutocrat was of the all- sufficiency of his riches and vulgar directness. And the book, though it plays lightly back and forth between satire and pure comedy, also leans towards tragedy. It might be called a tragicomedy, and it would be a tragicomedy of limitations, or rather of not knowing limitations, for the winsome Claire Ambler, with typical American blindness, never for a moment dreams that European males have a psychology in any respect different from the psychology of the youngsters back in the old home town in the States. Her straightforward coquetry, operating in a Mediterranean summer resort, therefore produces the most surprising results, and she has to learn a difficult lesson.
Observe the beauty and simplicity of Mr. Tarkington's methods. His novel is in effect a shrewd criticism of the typical American girl--not the vulgar title-hunter, but the typical fair daughter of any wealthy dad who is bullied into paying for a European jaunt. But most readers, I dare say, will be taken up with the story and the delightful chatter (quite empty, most of k) in which all the American characters indulge, without ever perceiving the true inwardness