Books: Anglo-Saxon Platitudes

LATE CALL by Angus Wilson. 316 pages. Viking. $4.95.

In case of dire need, when characters fail to move and ideas remain hopelessly mired, many an author falls back on a reliable device. He hauls his characters (and the reader) into church, and there, cloaked in clerical robes, delivers a sermon that sets everybody straight on what the novel is about. By extraordinary coincidence, literary sermons are always marvelously germane: no hero-wretch taken in adultery is ever made to sit through a discourse on the nature of the Holy Ghost.

In the case of Angus Wilson's latest novel, the need is dire indeed....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!