Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 7 July 26, 1944
News From Heaven
News From Heaven
The residents of heaven have been rather upset lately by the amount of dust and acrid smoke rising from the earth. They resolve to send an expedition to discover what the trouble is about, consisting of Messrs. Marco Polo and his faithful secretary. A descent is made by parachutes specially constructed by Euclid, Aristotle and da Vinci, and the narrative describes their adventures in England, where they are fortunate enough to land. Polo spends most of his time dining with duchesses, philandering with film stars and guzzling with generals, but his secretary does some worthwhile social research as well as maintaining radio communication with heaven.
There are uproarious scenes among the military strategists in the children's sand-pits and in the Rochester Club, where the elite dine to save on rations. Jeffrey Dell's racy style is reminiscent of Jurgen, his particular, critical approach resembles that of Douglas Reed and A. G. Mac Donnell, but he has an even clearer insight into the motives of Colonel Blimp and Lady Astor, cunningly disguised as General Now then Waite-Waite and Anathema Longacre. A final note of despair is added when the travellers return to heaven only to find that it too has become a Fascist state, with streets lined by a Persuasion Corps, arresting those who are rash enough to speak in favour of freedom of expression.
Perhaps a rather flippant way of dealing with the chaotic state of Britain's mis government in wartime, but unlike many more serious works on the subject, this new novel leaves no doubt in the readers' minds as to the real source of the bungling.
News for Heaven, by Jeffrey Dell Published by Jonathan Cape. Our copy by courtesy Modem Books.