Books: The Canker in the Rose

WHAT I'M GOING TO DO, I THINK by L. Woiwode. 309 pages. Farrar, Straus & G/roux. $5.95.

The man's talent is even more notable than his name. With only a few New Yorker stories and poems as warmups, L. (Larry) Woiwode (pronounced Why-v/ood-ee) has staged the best three-way confrontation between a young man, life and the Michigan woods since Hemingway's Nick Adams stories. If a better first novel than this one appears in 1969, it will be a remarkable year.

At first, the book seems to be an agreeable juvenile confection. The plot is...

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