Books: A Diary of Pains

COAT UPON A STICK (254 pp.)—Norman Fruchter—Simon & Schuster ($3.95).

There was a time in literature when men aged gracefully and died benevolently. Now the old men of fiction are always difficult, as if they had all taken Dylan Thomas' advice: "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." The hero of this novel rages even more than most. The novel covers only one day in his life, but its ferocity is enough for generations. Though old age is a curious subject for a first novel, Norman Fruchter, 25, writes with the accumulated wisdom of a nonagenarian.

The old immigrant Jew lives in...

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