Books: Not for Tourists

ORIGINAL SIN (179 pp.)—Giose Rima-nelli—Random House ($2.95).

Few tourists and fewer novelists visit the Molise region, which stretches, a withered Achilles tendon, above the heel of the Italian peninsula. Novelist Giose Rimanelli, who was born in this doomed place, has produced a bitter fictional report centered on a village that hangs like an abandoned bird's nest on a waterless escarpment between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic. His story, in translation at least, is as stiff, ill-fitting and yet appropriate as a peasant's wedding suit.

Even water is lacking to these country poor in the bitter postwar days. The old men smoke potato...

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