Books: There I Go

STRAIT AND NARROW (384 pp.)—Geoffrey Cotterell—Lippincott ($3.50).

Even in England, the enthusiasm for Jocelyn Brooke and his metaphysical puzzlers (See above) is pretty much restricted to the critics and the advance guard. The ordinary armchair Englishman is far more likely to prefer Geoffrey Cotterell. There are no great puzzles in Cotterell. A 31-year-old middle-class Englishman, Cotterell writes about other middle-class Englishmen in a manner designed to let the whole breed murmur to themselves: There but for the grace of God go I.

Cotterell's fourth novel (and first to be published in the U.S.) is a British Book Society choice, has sold 40,000...