An unsigned review of The Reef of Stars: A Romance of the Tropics, by H. de Vere Stacpoole
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506 ] An unsigned review of The Reef of Stars: A Romance of the Tropics, by H. de Vere Stacpoole London: Hutchinson, 1916. Pp. viii +312.1 The Saturday Westminster Gazette, 48 (9 Dec 1916), 202 Whose was the huge misshapen hand, apparently encased in a woollen glove, which rose suddenly out of the hatchway?3 No matter how seasoned the reader may be in treasure-hunting, he will experience several new shudders from Mr. H. de Vere Stacpoole’s new novel. There are all of the usual stage properties, and some original ones too. The story opens on the beach at Sydney, and conducts us up a New Guinea river. There the heroine is discovered in a Dyak village. The description of Macquart, gone mad over the gold which he cannot take away, is extremely well done, and leaves us in a state of complete exhaustion. Notes 1. The Irish writer H. de Vere Stacpoole (1863-1951) served as a ship’s doctor for more than forty years and wrote numerous novels that drew on his experience in the South Pacific, the best-known being The Blue Lagoon (1908). 2. On 7 Sept 1916, TSE wrote to Professor Woods: “I am doing considerable reviewing for the Westminster Gazette–all sorts of things . . . even H. de Vere Stacpoole’s novels” (L1 167). This is the only review of a Stacpoole novel in the Saturday Westminster Gazette. Attributed to TSE online by George Simmers, it may actually have been by Vivien Eliot. Writing to his mother the day before he wrote to Woods, TSE said: “The Westminster have given [me] some novels to do. . . . the editress told me that she could read and review six novels in an evening! And encouraged me to do the same. Vivien can do some of them for me” (L1 163-64). 3.Thehandthat“seemedcoveredbyablackwoollenglove”appearedtobethatofan“enormous ape,” but Macquart knew it to be “of the creature akin to man that . . . inhabits the forests of Dutch New Guinea. He was in fact like a great ruffian man gone to neglect in the primeval woods, his humanity clinging to him like a shame” (266). ...


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