Echoes of a More Elegant Era
In Don't Worry, It'll Grow Back, we see one man's effort to retain the elegance of olden days. Like the scent of slightly faded roses, the aromas of the traditional barber shop permeate its pages; one can practically smell the shaving soap and the cologne, and the occasional whiff of a Havana cigar. We learn why, and how, Mr Thorne started his retrospective venture, what went well, what didn't go so well, and we have from this a glimpse into a mind whose ordering may seem odd to this mercantile age. Values other than money have filled the author's sails on his journey through life, and the world is the richer for it.
This collection is a very pleasant way to while away a Sunday afternoon. I didn't love all of the stories equally well; I disliked Of Mycenaean Men and The Loneliness Drug, but the wonderful Agents of Fortune made up for everything. Rhine's strength as a writer lies more in the concrete than the abstract, I feel, and when the leavening touch of humour is left out, as in The Loneliness Drug, or overdone, as in Of Mycenaean Men, the story falters. Overall, though, I enjoyed the collection very much.