Books: Lacrimae Rerum

PREPARATIONS FOR THE ASCENT by Gilbert Rogin

Random House; 181 pages; $8.95

Albert is forever coaxing the world to yield up more elegant significances, secretly glowing metaphysics. He goes for a tangerine at night: "Opening the refrigerator he is dazzled by the burst of light, finding it comparable to the effulgence which in the Rembrandt print reveals the stirring Lazarus, floods Christ's robes. In that case, the light presumably emanates from the Lord instead of coming from behind the No-Cal cream soda, but the principle is the same." Albert peers into a dryer at the Laundromat: "Behind the glass door, clothes appear and...

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