Books: Contemporary Ulysses

THE CENTER OF THE STAGE (290 pp.)—Gerald Sykes—Farrar, Straus & Young ($3).

Dr. David Holderness, M.D., was no Ulysses—he was just a more or less preoccupied research man returning to the U.S. after a long stay abroad, and wondering how to pick up the threads of his marriage. In a way, his son Pete reflected, the situation did resemble the old Greek story: "Enigmatic Mother, Absent Father, Disagreeable Suitors."

Carlotta, the Enigmatic Mother, was a frisky and fashionable actress living a life of frantic emptiness. And the Disagreeable Suitors were a passel of New York busybodies, creatures on the make. From...

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