Books: What's It Ail About?

THE IMAGE OF A DRAWN SWORD (242 pp.)—Jocelyn Brooke—Knopf ($2.75).

A doctor probably would have told Reynard Langrish that what he needed was a long vacation. Besides his chronic catarrh, he was having trouble with his hearing, and his sense of smell wasn't as sharp as it should be. Even cigarettes had begun to taste bad. What was worse, his home in the provincial English town where he lived with his deaf mother was getting on his nerves. After a day at his dull bank clerk's job, his restlessness would become intolerable, driving him out for long, aimless walks. On the...