Books: The Tail of Sir Osbert

LEFT HAND, RIGHT HAND—Sir Osbert SitwelI—Little, Brown ($3).

All scions, says Sir Osbert Sitwell, have a tail. A scion's tail, Sir Osbert explains, is the life of his ancestors, who spread out behind him like a peacock's fan, and whose influence is present "in every gesture and look, in every decision he takes." Sir Osbert is not only a scion with a tail that runs back almost to Piltdown man, but one of Britain's most iridescent contemporary writers (England Reclaimed, Escape with Me). Left Hand, Right Hand ("the lines of the left hand are...

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