Reviewer Quotes about 'The Bomb'
[What is quoted here I found on a site dedicated to the late unlamented Aleister Crowley, who was by way of being something of a fan of Harris (apparently it was Harris' powerful voice which attracted him). From the context I guess it to be an advertisement in Crowley's magazine The Equinox. How extraordinary much of the hyperbole to be read here now sounds! You may want to read my own review of The Bomb, too.]
"The Bomb" By FRANK HARRIS
(John Long. 6/-.)
This sensational novel, by the Well-known Editor of "Vanity Fair," has evoked a chorus of praise from the reviewers, and has been one of the most talked-of books of the season. We append a few criticisms:---
MR. ALEISTER CROWLEY:
"This book is, in truth, a masterpiece; so intense is the impression that one almost asks, 'Is this a novel or a confession? Did not Frank Harris perhaps throw the bomb?' At least he has thrown one now ... This isthe best novel I have ever read."
"'The Bomb' is highly charged with an explosive blend of Socialistic and Anarchistic matter, wrapped in a gruesome coating of 'exciting' fiction ... Mr. Harris has a real power of realistic narrative. He is at his bestin mid-stream. The tense directness of his style, never deviating into verbiage, undoubtedly keeps the reader at grips with the story and the characters."
"Mr. Frank Harris's first long novel is an extremely interesting and able piece of work. Mr. Harris has certainly one supreme literary gift, that of vision. He sees clearly and definitely everything he describes, and consequently ... is absolutely convincing. Never for a moment do we feel as we read the book that the story is not one of absolute fact, and so convincing in its simplicity and matter-of-factness is Mr. Harris's style that we often accept his psychology before we realize ... on how few grounds it is based. Some of the aspects of modern democracy are treated with astonishing insight and ability, and 'The Bomb' is distinctly not a book to be overlooked."
JACOB TONSON [better known as Arnold Bennett] in the "New Age:"
"The illusion of reality is more than staggering; it is haunting ... Many passages are on the very highest level of realistic art ... Lingg's suicide and death are Titanic ... In pure realism nothing better has been done, and I do not forget Tolstoy's 'The Death of Ivan Illytch!' It is a book very courageous, impulsively generous, and of a shining distinction..."
"He (Mr. Harris) is a born writer of fiction. ... Those two books of his, 'Elder Conklin' and 'Montes, the Matador,' contained the best short stories that have been written. ... Mr. Harris touches a high level of tragic intensity. And the scene of the actual throwing, and then the description of Schnaubelt's flight to New York in a state of mental and physical collapse, are marvels of tense narration. Altogether, the book is a thoroughly fine piece of work, worthy of the creator of Conklin. We hope it is the precursor of many other books from Mr. Harris."
"Mr. Harris has a born writer's eloquence, he has knowledge of his subject, and he often expresses himself with a distinction of phrasing and a precision of thought which give real value to his work."
"A good book ... this story reads like a page of real life written down by a man who actually did take part in the scenes described so vividly. ... We follow their fortunes breathlessly. ... Descriptions as vivid as any Mr. Upton Sinclair ever painted, and they are never tedious nor overdone. ... We must not leave the tale without mentioning the wonderful love story of Rudolph and Elsie, a fine piece of psychology, as true as it is moving, and of a quality rarely to be found in fiction."