Books: Love Among the Ruins

APOSTLES OF LIGHT by ELLEN DOUGLAS 307 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $6.95.

Everybody is born a king, Oscar Wilde once remarked, but most people die in exile. In Wilde's mood of royal bitterness, Ellen Douglas has written a savage little novel about life's next-to-last disenfranchisement—that deportation to Siberia known as old age.

Martha Clarke, a retired schoolteacher in the mythical town of Homochitto, Miss., still lives in the family homestead. But now, in her mid-70s, she is almost blind and beginning to turn senile. Picking their way past a Spanish oak tree and a small jungle...

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