THE LATE JOHN MARQUAND
by STEPHEN BIRMINGHAM 322 pages. Lippincott. $10.
J.P. Marquand was one of the shrewdest and best popular fiction writers of the century. He longed to write a modern Madame Bovary, but instead produced solid novels about upper middle class entanglements and sagas of newcomers struggling to join the ranks. His best booksThe Late George Apley. Point of No Returnare subtle social and moral commentaries.
Marquand was somewhat like his heroes. Born in very comfortable circumstances, he liked to point out that his family had been gentry in the old town...