Books: What an Old Lady Knows

THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS (244 pp.) —Maria Dermoûf—Simon & Schusfer ($3.75).

In 1955 Holland saw a first novel by a Dutch lady of 67. Her writer's stock in trade was elementary—just a bagful of old memories. Yet with them she managed to fashion a book whose style owes nothing to other writers, whose substance is the stuff of a faraway East Indies setting both languorous and violent. In translation, Maria Dermout's The Ten Thousand Things is an uncommon reading experience, an offbeat narrative that has the timeless tone of legend. Sybille Bedford, another late-starting, first-rate first novelist (TIME, Feb. n, 1957), has...

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