Books: Love at the Table d'H


by CHRISTINA STEAD 191 pages. Holt, Rinehart& Winston.


Ships of fools and modern hostelries continue to do the job that mead halls and pilgrimages did for earlier eras of writers. They provide a place where assorted folk can tell their tales, show their colors and generally present themselves for inspection. In The Little Hotel, Australian Novelist Christina Stead, 74, has assembled a crew as sad, funny and perverse as any ever gathered together in the name of art.

Mme. Bonnard, whose chatty recollections make up most of the novel, is the quizzical young patronne of a marginally respectable pension just after...

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