Books: Horsebackwards

CAUSE FOR WONDER by Wright Morris. 272 pages. Atheneum. $4.50.

In one of Wright Morris' lesser and funnier novels, Love Among the Cannibals, some American tourists are marooned in the boiled-water area of Mexico when their great, gaudy auto breaks down. The natives do not bother them, but each morning there is less of the ridiculous vehicle left. The door han dles and the four wheels go first; a day later the sparkplugs, carburetor and windshield; finally the engine block, dashboard and radiator.

A similar melting away occurs in the author's new novel, but what dwindles in this case is the reader's sanity....

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