Books: Say Ah-h-h!

CAST A COLD EYE (212 pp.)—Mary McCarthy—Harcourt, Brace ($2.75).

"I can only approve," wrote Pascal in one of the more peevish passages of his Pensées, "of those who groan aloud in their search for the truth." Literature, from Greek tragedy to T. S. Eliot, has been vastly benefited by truth-seekers who could out-groan a Maine fog horn; but it has also had to put up with a host of novelists and poets who forget that the surest way to ruin a good groan is to work it to death and stuff its remains into the machinery of their writing.

This forgetfulness is changing...

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