Books: Lost at Sea

PILGRIM AT SEA by Par Lagerkvist. 116 pages. Random House. $3.95.

Giovanni grew up in a devout home "where in every room an emaciated man hung dying for our sake." He automatically accepted ordination as a priest (the novel never makes clear in what country or what faith) and never questioned his vocation until one day he hears the confession of a veiled married woman yearning for a sexual love that her husband cannot supply. As the woman's words and fragrant breath filter through the grille of the confessional, Giovanni is strangely excited. "I did not yearn to rest again in the...

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