The Country: Chilly Depths

by David Plante

Atheneum; 159 pages; $9.95

Grief is often most eloquent when understated. Author David Plante's seventh novel is a textbook example of such successful reticence. Its narrator, Daniel Francoeur, is a writer living in London; he pays three visits to his aging parents in Providence, the last of them on the occasion of his father's funeral. Standing beside the coffin with his six brothers, Daniel finds himself weeping: "Then, with a little jolt, I felt that I was being dramatic, and my sobbing stopped."

Such self-control dominates The Country. Plante is a...

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