Books: All the Tired Young Men

A DISTANT DRUM (500 pp.)—Charles Bracelen Flood — Houghton Mlfflin ($4.50).

This is a novel about people with beer tastes and champagne incomes. They are the reverse of Oscar Wilde's cynics, for they know the value of everything and the price of almost nothing. They spout dialogue like a Wall Street high-speed ticker, but the quotations mean less. At their best they are faulty reproductions of two old masters, Fitzgerald and Marquand. At their worst they share what 27-year-old Novelist Flood (whose 1953 novel. Love Is a Bridge, was much overpraised) seems to...