Books: Everytown

THE EIGHTH DAY by Thornton Wilder. 435 pages. Harper & Row. $6.95.

For a man of his age (69), Thornton Wilder's total literary output is small—six novels, four full-length plays. But if it is not a three-foot shelf, it bears witness to an original mind and a remarkable skill—The Skin of Our Teeth, Our Town and The Bridge of San Luis Rey are genuine American classics.

Wilder has always insisted that he is not a writer but a teacher. He is both, of course. The Eighth Day, his first novel in 18 years, combines his...

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