Books: This Side of Parody

Mimicry is a compliment that talent pays to fame. In new novels, two talented fledgling writers pay their respects to F. Scott Fitzgerald, dazzled poet of enchanted youth, and to John P. Marquand, the wry prosist of disenchanted middle age.

BARBARA SREER, by Stephen Birmingham (371 pp.; Little, Brown; $4.50), is based on a standard Marquand gambit—you can go home again, and again, and again. As she sees herself, Barbara is a yacht-club girl in a rowboat basin. Locustville, Pa. is an industrial town, and her husband Carson is an organization nomad in a...

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