Books: Split-Level Reverend

THE MACKEREL PLAZA (260 pp.)—Peter De Vries—Little, Brown ($3.75).

Peter De Vries may be the best comic novelist now at work in the U.S. A competing practitioner, England's Kingsley (Lucky Jim) Amis, thinks he is "the funniest serious writer to be found either side of the Atlantic." The real test is not the laugh count. Anyone who has read The Tunnel of Love (TIME, May 24, 1954) and Comfort Me with Apples (TIME, April 30, 1956) knows that the gags and puns—sometimes outrageously funny and sometimes just outrageous—are simply the dressing for an underlying...

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