Books: A Passage to Egypt

THE PICNIC AT SAKKARA (239 pp.)—P. H. Newby—Knopf ($1.25).

All civilized nations have a problem—how to be civilized without losing their primitive gusto. Novelists face the same problem. They must be fine craftsmen, but if they are not impelled also by cruder, tougher impulses, their novels will be all polish.

Good novelists find ways of solving this problem. E. M. Forster is one of the most civilized writers alive, but his heart (and his reader's) goes out to characters who are more primitive than he is himself. In neatness and suavity, Novelist Evelyn Waugh has...

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