Books: Stiff Upper Lib

SMALL CHANGES by MARGE PIERCY 562 pages. Doubleday. $8.95.

Marge Piercy's last novel, Dance the Eagle to Sleep, was clamorously received two years ago. She wrote about the angry counterculture—runaway kids, commune dwellers—with a contemporary's sympathetic understanding and a traditional fiction style. It seemed the ideal book for the over-the-counterculture fellow who wanted to be imaginatively in touch with the hard-edged confusions of youth.

Small Changes almost totally lacks that earlier book's homely virtues. The dust jacket says that Miss Piercy has become active in the feminist movement, and instead of creating believable characters, she has set some stick figures in motion to...

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