Books: Manhattan

EVELYN PRENTICE—W. E. Woodward— Knopf ($2.25).

Author Woodward says, &"The writing of novels is a form of human activity that requires neither knowledge nor experience and only a small amount of native talent, for its successful accomplishment.&" It is not surprising, therefore, that his own novels are not very good. But in spite of its author's cynical bluster and insensitive awkwardness, Evelyn Prentice slowly pulls itself together into a ponderous but dramatic tale.

Evelyn, beautiful, half-Spanish artist's daughter, was comfortably married. She had two children, a luxurious Manhattan house, a nice place in the country,...