Books: The Portable Abyss

BULLET PARK by John Cheever. 241 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

After the final melodramatic act of John Cheever's new novel—in which a boy barely escapes being turned into a gasoline-soaked torch on the altar of an Episcopal church—the reader is assured that everything is going to be "as wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful as it had been." Lest it be thought that this is an attempt to fill the current American prescription for a tragedy with a pain-killing happy ending, it should be made clear that Cheever means by his four "wonderfuls" very much the same...

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