Books: Gainful Godliness

LION COUNTRY by Frederick Buechner. 247 pages. Atheneum. $5.95.

Vagueness and insubstantiality are the qualities at hand when Antonio Parr wakes up in the morning. Parr is a man in his 30s who has a small private income and has worked without delight as a teacher, a failed novelist and a junk sculptor. "I resorted as little as possible to welding," explains the hero of Frederick Buechner's ruefully funny new novel, "but used balance wherever I could or the natural capacity of one odd shape to fit somehow into or on top of or through another—entirely autobiographical, in other words—the idea being...

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