Books: Mr. Sincerity

THE HACK by Wilfrid Sheed. 279 pages. Macmillan. $4.95.

Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts is the saga of a cynical writer of a newspaper agony column who is sucked into emotional involvements with his correspondents and almost against his will achieves a kind of faith. Author Wilfrid Sheed's funny, sad, perceptive novel turns the story upside down. It recounts the fate of a magazine writer who starts with a serene, uncluttered faith and, as it slips away from him, tries desperately to become a cynical hack.

Career Pap. Bert Flax is a sunny, shallow, sincere young man who begins his writing career as a...

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