Books: Waiting for the End

LAST RIGHTS by MARYA MANNES 150 pages. Morrow. $5.95.

Not so long ago, discussion of death was largely a select European import —Camus, say, in The Myth of Sisyphus. Suddenly, death is an exceedingly popular topic in America. It is even an academic specialty: the University of Minnesota boasts a Center for Thanatological Studies, while U.C.L.A. has a Laboratory for the Study of Life-Threatening Behavior. On the lecture circuit, "the subject of death is now outdrawing the perennials—sex and politics," writes Roman Catholic Theologian Daniel C. Maguire in the current issue of...

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