CHILE: Escapist

"For my taste," burbles Chilean Author María-Luísa Bombal, "the grim, documentary type of writing is overdone today. I prefer—what you call—escape." Because escapist literature is Hollywood's meat, her new novel, House of Mist (Farrar Straus, $2.75), was a natural mouthful (at $125,000) for Producer Hal Wallis. Even without book royalties Author Bombal's literary take is tops for a Latin American writer.

The House of Mist and Señorita Bombal have a common background in the lake region of southern Chile, where it rains so hard (104 inches a year) that mist is almost...

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