Books: Charades


Random House; 291 pages; $15.95

In his preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde warned that those who would "go beneath the surface do so at their peril." This is precisely the risk novelists take, though the better ones know that the obvious can hold as much truth as the hidden. Alison Lurie is among the better ones. She has deftly drawn the relationship between outward style and inward character in such novels as Imaginary Friends and Real People, and in her social history The Language of Clothes....

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