Books: Poor Nellie

DARK PLACES OF THE HEART by Christina Stead. 352 pages. Holf, Rinehart & Winston. $6.95.

Perhaps Christina Stead's latest book should not be reviewed, but exorcised. It purports to be a novel of British working-class life, but its overt socialist propaganda and its covert hints of dark doings in sex and some sort of spiritualism make it the queerest mixture of the publishing season—a marriage of those diverse London oddballs, Karl Marx and Joanna Southcott, the hysteric cultist who died in 1814 after announcing that she would give birth to a second Prince of...

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