Books: Fastmouth in Babylon

CIRCLE OF WOMEN by Drury L. Pifer. 335 pages. Doubleday. $5.95.

Sometimes Novelist Pifer sneaks glances at his metaphors like a new-hatched press agent admiring his first pair of $60 shoes. But this boyishness is not offensive: he can write almost as well as he thinks he can.

Pifer's literary fancy is a ring of courtesans organized by a shadowy group of sinners to pry cashable secrets out of the military-industrial complex. His hero is a plausible young fastmouth, Tom Habba-kuk—named somewhat pretentiously after a 7th century B.C. minor prophet —who has been recruited to shill for the vestals, as the girls are...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!