Books: Glimpses of a Half-Century

A KIND OF MAGIC by Edna Ferber. 335 pages. Doubleday. $5.75.

Five feet tall and 76 years old, Edna Ferber is a human word factory. Over the past 52 years she has co-authored seven plays and written 25 books. Slick, romantic and melodramatic, her novels will never win her an interview with the Paris Review. But she is an acerbic, perceptive, witty, opinionated, thoroughly delightful woman, and this second volume of her autobiography provides charming glimpses of a fascinating life.

Strictly speaking, A Kind of Magic begins in 1938 and covers the years of Saratoga Trunk, Giant and Ice Palace. But Author Ferber...

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