Books: Twilight by the Danube

THE HOUSE IN VIENNA (244 pp.)—Edith de Born—Knopf ($3.95).

Aristocracy, like fine cheese, is usually at its most interesting in an advanced state of decay. Chekhov demonstrated this in prerevolutionary Russia, William Faulkner in post-Civil War America. Theoretically the decline of the Austro-Hungarian nobility before and after World War I ought to make equally pungent fiction. Unfortunately this is only sometimes the case in Author de Born's new novel, the second installment of a trilogy (the first, Felding Castle, published early last year, was set in 1900 and carried a nostalgic remembrance of that time of sunlit lawns, masquerade balls and respectful...

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