FICTION: The Year's Best

THE CONNOISSEUR by Evan S. Council Jr. A businessman descends into the joys of collecting pre-Columbian art and gradually loses himself to his possessions.

THE EBONY TOWER by John Fowles. A masterful conjurer turns some stolid themes (art v. life, passion v. responsibility) into five glittering stories brimming with allusion and intelligence.

LOOK AT THE HARLEQUINS by Vladimir Nabokov. At 75, the old artificer has written a sly, funny fiction about an exiled Russian nobleman and novelist who resembles a certain writer with the initials V.N.

THE BARKING DEER by Jonathan Rubin.

The Viet Nam War as a grim fairy tale, ruefully seen from...

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