Books: S for Singular

THE SADDEST SUMMER OF SAMUEL S by J. P. Donleavy. 124 pages. Delacorte Press. $3.95.

In Candide, Voltaire wrote for all time the story of the philosophic fathead betrayed by blind optimism and an overweening trust in the goodness of human nature. J. P. Donleavy's conte philosophique demonstrates that the things a man does not believe in can be as crippling as false faith. This is the opposite of Candide's optimism—despair. Donleavy's hero, Samuel S, does not suffer persecution by savages; his enemy is himself; he believes nothing.

Mr. S, a man of some...

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