Books: Comic Tragedy

BROTHERS AND SISTERS (273 pp.)—Ivy Compton-Burnett—Zero Press ($3.75).

"What? Incest again?" fans of Ivy Compton-Burnett will cry upon opening Brothers and Sisters. Again an old desk, locked for decades, containing a letter containing the terrible truth? Again a hard fate visiting the sins of the father upon the children?

These are among the fixed, solemn bells on which Author Compton-Burnett has managed to ring wild, gay changes for more than 30 years (e.g., Bullivant and the Lambs, Two Worlds and Their Ways). But no matter how worn her plots may be, the conversation is sure to be spangled with jewels that, to...

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