Books: I Remember Grandmamma

BEFORE MY TIME (638 pp.)—Niccoló Tucci—Simon & Schuster ($7.50).

Literary critics who lament the emasculating effect that standard New Yorker fiction has had on the short story now have something larger to fret about: the formula has been applied to the novel.

Predictably, the perpetrator is a New Yorker writer named Niccolo Tucci. Predictably, too, the result is an enormous (and plotless) volume in which the small, repetitious encounters of a rich, upper-class fin de siécle family (Tucci's) are recollected with all the intensity and detail that Tolstoy lavished on the battle of Borodino. Before My Time may be the only book in...

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