Molly Keane The New York Times Book Review - Essay

The New York Times Book Review

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"Point-to-Point" [published in England as "Conversation Piece"] is a sporting novel, from the opening pages in which a certain Captain Pulleyns arrives at Pullinstown by his cousin's invitation to attend the point-to-point meeting of the Springwell Harriers, to the closing pages, which are partly concerned with Willow Pulleyns's misguided little romance, but more with a cub hunt, and some thrilling out-of-season riding. To the casual observer it must have seemed that Willow and her brother Dick lived solely for sport….

Even their romances—or what threatened to become their romances, for there existed between brother and sister a sympathy and likeness of mind which outsiders found difficult to cope with—were partly governed by their preoccupation with sport….

These slender episodes comprise about all the book has to offer in the way of plot. For the rest, it contains a succession of vividly described sporting events, fox hunts, horse shows, and point-to-point races…. It is difficult to do justice to the quality of the book, to the beauty and economy of Miss Farrell's style, or to the contagious enthusiasm with which she writes. It is equally difficult to convey an impression of the life and habits of her Irish sportsmen, and the amazing combination of civilized formality and simple savagery which she attributes to them. It is enough to say that the book is thoroughly delightful and a worthy successor to "Mad Puppetstown."

"'The Men of Ness' and Some Other Recent Works of Fiction: A Sporting Novel," in The New York Times Book Review, April 9, 1933, p. 7.