Books: Lessons from the Dead

THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB (246 pp.)—Peter De Vries—Little, Brown ($4).

In all the novels of Peter De Vries, life's devious ways have been crosscurrents in a happy sea of absurdity. In Comfort Me with Apples and The Tunnel of Love, adultery was the only way to hold a marriage together; there was power in futility, wisdom in platitudes and, of course, virtue in vice. But always there have been signs that inside the humorist, a serious novelist was struggling to get out. Now, in The Blood of the Lamb, absurdity becomes tragic, and De...

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