Books: In Love with Nullity

THE LIE by Alberto Moravia. 334 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $5.95.

By pronouncing the novel of action dead and buried, Alberto Moravia has been forced to prove his point by writing novels of inaction. This one is not only inactive; it is stillborn. Francesco Merighi, a journalist with sex problems (Moravia's hang-up), tires of his wife and examines the possibility of a relationship with his stepdaughter (step-incest?). Nothing happens, though, because that is not really what Merighi wants: "She represented the nullity which I would be able to love simply because it was nullity." The book is in the form...