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[Review of The Conjure Woman]

THE CONJURE WOMAN, by Charles W. Chesnutt. Last June or July The Atlantic Monthly had, among many good things, a story called "The Wife of His Youth;" it was signed Charles W. Chesnutt. Before the magazine was a week old, one was being confronted daily, or oftener, with the query, "Have you read 'The Wife of His Youth' in the last Atlantic?" Then the press comments began to be notable; not often, indeed scarcely ever, is a little bit of fiction by an unknown writer, so singled out for comment and praise. The month following there was note of the story, and the interest it had stirred, in some of the literary magazines, and some information about the writer of so tenderly touching a story was given to his admirers. As nearly as memory serves to recall it, the gist of it was that Mr. Chesnutt is lawyer, resident in an Ohio city–Cleveland or Toledo–and that he is of mulatto birth; it was further stated that he had considerable literary material, in more or less complete shape, and that the success of his first venture would doubtless encourage him to further efforts for public approval. The seven tales in this little volume do not, strange to say, include the story which made Mr. Chesnutt's reputation. But they are good tales–of a different order, but good, and though each is complete in itself, the seven make a series of charmingly humorous stories. Mr. Chesnutt has an exquisitely delicate fancy, a rich, mellow humor, and a no less than mellifluous flow of negro dialect–soft, and lazy and sweet. He is a man to be reckoned with. [Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston.