Books: Beating the Sophomore Jinx

ORIGINAL SINS by Lisa Alther; Knopf; 592 pages; $13.95

After writing a truly successful first novel, most authors feel obliged to try again. The odds are not encouraging. Fledgling novelists tend to pour everything they know or have experienced into their first efforts. Replenishing bare cupboards is never easy, especially when new demands imposed by literary fame are added to the normal burdens of living and working. Then there is the problem of a presold audience, its expectations buoyed by an impressive debut. What, this group itches to know, can the sophomore writer do...

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