Books: Alien Tongue

BLOODSHED AND THREE NOVELLAS

by CYNTHIA OZICK

178 pages. Knopf. $6.95.

In her previous works, consisting of a long novel and a widely praised collection of stories, Author Cynthia Ozick, 48, displayed an uncompromising intelligence wedded to a prancing narrative talent. In Bloodshed and Three Novellas, she skeptically examines her own gifts. What business has a Jew writing stories in an alien tongue, she wonders: "English is a Christian language. When I write English, I live in Christendom." Given the fiat of the Second Commandment against false idols, she questions a bit disingenuously whether a Jew should write stories at all.

So she...

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