Books: A Pox on It

NOTHING LIKE THE SUN by Anthony Burgess. 234 pages. Norton. $3.95.

The arty little historical novel about a sensitive young man who wants to be a poet and is troubled by homosexuality would seem to be a perfectly standard commodity—except when the hero turns out to be William Shakespeare, when the style is a rich, impenetrable soup of pseudo-Elizabethan, and when the author is that prickly, unpredictable English satirist, Anthony Burgess. In that case, the book begins to look strangely like a hedgehog. Normally intrepid critics approach it with extreme care, handle it gingerly, natter nervously about the inventiveness of the language....

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