Books: New Mockingbird

A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE (195 pp.)—Reynolds Price—Atheneum ($3.95).

One of the pleasing vagaries of the publishing business is that every year or so a good novel takes hold of public fancy and lodges near the top of the bestseller lists for month after month. Suburban matrons feel socially inadequate until they have read it, a Hollywood movie producer pays the price of a California divorce settlement for film rights and assigns a subordinate to read what he has paid for, and a women's magazine commissions the newly celebrated author to write 10,000 words at $2 each on the secret of happy...

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