Books: A Child of the Times

CONFESSIONS OF A SPENT YOUTH (434 pp.)—Vance Bourjaily—Dial ($4.95).

The confessor-hero of Vance Bourjaily's new novel claims no motive of expiation and none of titillation, uplift or complaint. In his coy title, the author makes the point that his hero's youth was not spent well or ill but merely spent. There is also an arch reference in the hero's name, U. S. D. Quincy, to Thomas De Quincey, the English opium eater. These unfelicitous japes and one other—a minor character is named Central Park Wes—are the book's only ventures into vivid writing. For Author Bourjaily, who has been praised for the...

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