Books: Natural Switch

AN ACTOR'S DAUGHTER—Aline Bernstein—Knopf ($2).

Aline Bernstein is a Manhattan theatrical designer, one of the best in the business. She is also an author. Her first book, Three Blue Suits, was short stories. Her second, The Journey Down, was a novel about a middle-life love affair. An Actor's Daughter, her third, is her memoirs from birth to marriage, but it reads like a novel.

She writes of Manhattan theatrical boardinghouse life a generation ago. The characters—Aline, her weak father, her patient mother, her wayward aunt—are engaging not merely as characters, but also as vehicles for an elegant, painter-like style: the morally deaf and...

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