Books: Improving on Oedipus

WELCOME TO THEBES (372 pp.)—Glendon Swarthout—Random House ($5.95).

The author of Where the Boys Are, a bestselling novel about collegians on vacation, has now taken a giant step into Greek tragedy. He should have stayed with the boys in Fort Lauderdale. Greek grandeur is not duplicated by a setting in Thebes (Mich.) or Greek name-dropping. Swarthout reads like a parody of a bad translation of Homer: "At last the leaves are fallen; then do men their duty to the tree-crop, rite singular to towns, to which only fathers and sons may be initiate: leaf burning . . . Wives and mothers...

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