Books: Colorado Adventure

THE MOUNTAIN LION (231 pp.)—Jean Stafford—Harcourt, Brace ($2.75).

Unlike oil and water, symbolism and realism can be mixed—but it takes a skilled hand. Ambitious young Novelist Jean Stafford (Boston Adventure) takes a try at it in her second novel, and doesn't bring it off. In parts The Mountain Lion is beautifully clear—a delicate, sharp story of childhood and adolescence. But it darkens toward the end, and winds up in a desperately contrived coincidence.

Novelist Stafford (who is the wife of Poet Robert Lowell) tells the story of Molly Fawcett, a plain, wise little girl growing up near Los Angeles in the 1920s. Going...

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