Books: Wisps of War

SALVADOR by Joan Didion

Simon & Schuster; 108 pages; $12.95

Joan Didion's talent thrives in hot places: Southern California, Hawaii, Mexico and the Central America of her novel A Book of Common Prayer. She finds flowers of evil where most people see posies, and she can fix a place or a character with some of the sharpest prose in contemporary American writing.

Didion's timing is not bad either. Salvador, first published in the New York Review of Books, goes hardback and national just as full attention is turning again to the nation of only 8,260 sq. mi. The book is Didion's report on two...

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