Books: Help from a Guru

GLIMPSE OF A STRANGER by Joe David Brown. 279 pages. Morrow. $5.95.

Mother India has played auntie to many orphaned spirits. Christopher Isherwood, the Beatles, Mia Sinatra: the list lengthens every year. The latest addition is Paul Fraser, the tall, blue-eyed New Yorker who is the troubled protagonist of this novel. At 46, Paul is a successful playwright and lover but, alas, a spiritual cipher. And after botching a suicide attempt, he drifts off to India—where Author Brown feels thoroughly at home.

An old pro in journalism (TIME) as well as fiction (Kings Go Forth....