Books: Solid as a Bridge

THE OUTCASTS by Stephen Becker. 240 pages. Atheneum. $4.95.

Harvard-educated Stephen Becker, 39, is a fiddle-footed traveler with a facile pen. He has lived in China, France, Alaska and the Guianas and supported himself as a translator, biographer, historian, and novelist (A Covenant with Death). Recently he has shown signs of settling down—near Katonah, N.Y., and as a novelist. In this newest and best of his books, he handles a Conradian theme with commendable assurance.

Becker's hero is Engineer Bernard Morrison, who has built many things but never a bridge. At 43, he finally gets his chance. His bridge must span a gorge...

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