Books: Generation Cracks


byJOHN LAHR 241 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

What graying fan of radio's Queen for a Day could have imagined that the concept of short-order celebrity would have gone so far? TV now spits out stars faster than a kid's Fourth of July sparkler. "Everybody wants to get into the act," as Jimmy Durante used to say. But as George Santayana used to say, occasionally there is "a lyric cry in the midst of business."

George Melish, the flashy nova of John Lahr's second novel, is not quite Santayana's last puritan, and his cries are more like yelps. He is, in fact,...

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