Books: One Bird Too Many

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANGELS (243 pp.)—Hortense Calisher—Liifle, Brown ($3).

Every writer has to look for the bluebird of his own true style, but most of them cage a mockingbird first—and it warbles shamelessly in the accents of others. Hortense Calisher is in the rare situation of having both birds in the cage at once: her first volume of short stories, In the Absence of Angels, gives the impression of being an anthology of compositions by disciples of Marcel Proust, George Orwell and Elizabeth Bowen—and one seriously talented writer named Hortense Calisher.

The pseudo-Proust is, all inadvertently, the funniest of Author Calisher's impersonations....

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