Books: Watered Whine

MOBILE by Michel Bufor. 319 pages. Simon & Schuster. $6.

As it has with many another traveler before him, being a tourist brought out the worst in Michel Butor. A gifted disciple of French antinovelist Alain Robbe-Grillet (TIME, July 20, 1962), Butor is notable because he uses a different technique with every book and turns out intense and interesting fiction just the same. But in recounting his recent six-month tour of the U.S.—and in switching from novels to what might loosely be called nonfiction—Butor has produced a whopping-bad nonbook. It presents America in a...

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