Books: From the Bottom of the Kennel

THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS—Mary McCarthy—Simon & Schuster ($2.50).

The appearance of The Company She Keeps is a big event in the small world of Manhattan's gossipy literary lefts & liberaIs. Coruscating with private cracks and local allusions, it is arousing furious debate among the author's friends and victims. Despite its shortcomings, it also sets a standard of bilish sharpness in social, psychological and self-analysis with which few U.S. writers are equipped to compete. A friend of Miss McCarthy's wrote her rom childbed: "Before I read it I felt almost like the Virgin Mary. . . . Now . . . I salute...

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