Books: Sophomoric Scream

THE ISLAND—Claire Spencer—Smith & Haas ($2.50).

Five years ago Claire Spencer caught many a U. S. reader's eye with her first novel, a black-avised melodrama called Gallows' Orchard. Because its youthful angularities seemed to hint of power in its not-yet-matured bone, critics reserved judgment, hoped to see its promise performed in Author Spencer's second book. Last week, after reading The Island, they wrote off Author Spencer as a case of arrested artistic development.

Author Spencer writes violently, too often as one beating the air. Metaphors meant to be mighty come out merely mixed: "Soon...

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