Molly Keane The New York Times Book Review - Essay

The New York Times Book Review

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Occasionally there appears a book which disarms criticism. "Taking Chances" is one of these, perhaps because Ireland gives enchantment always, and Miss Farrell had laid her scene there. To most people there is something much dearer and even much more exciting about familiar things than unfamiliar. Recognition can be more wildly rapturous than discovery. Everything in this book is delightfully familiar to any one who has read any good Irish novel before: the bog, the hunting, the weeping skies, the charming people, the innumerable dogs and horses—all are here.

Apparently modern Ireland is as good a place as the old Ireland; and, by Miss Farrell's convincing interpretation, even cigarettes and cocktails become part of the most romantic equipment of love. Of fox-hunting one might imagine that everything had been said, but Miss Farrell makes it afresh the most glorious experience that can fall to the lot of man. Whatever quality this is that she possesses of making the ordinary exciting, the dull brilliant, the foolish very engaging, is put most to the test and is most successful in her relation of the passionate love of Mary and Rowley. Mary is an enchanting character, vindicating all that is foolish, helpless, rash, unvirtuous and entirely modern in any woman. (pp. 6-7)

It makes a very good story. (p. 7)

"'The Love of Jeanne Ney' and Other Recent Fiction: Enchanting Ireland," in The New York Times Book Review, February 16, 1930, pp. 6-7.