Books: Drawing-Room Tragedy

THE SEASONS' DIFFERENCE (303 pp.)—Frederick Buechner—Knopf ($3.50).

Among the frisky young colts in the U.S. literary stable, 25-year-old Novelist Frederick Buechner has many of the marks of a writing thoroughbred. His style stems from Henry James, his imagination makes such plodding documentarians as Norman Mailer and James Jones look like plow horses. Critical railbirds who clocked him on his first novel, A Long Day's Dying, found that he ran a sharp race with a light package: the havoc of a love affair between a middle-aged woman and her son's English instructor.

Second time out, in The Seasons' Difference, he runs wide around...

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