Books: Hag-Ridden

PERMANENT ERRORS by Reynolds Price. 253 pages. Atheneum. $6.50.

In its own modest category—it is the sort of book that writers publish between books—Permanent Errors is worth some moments of respectful attention. Most of the collection is fiction, and Novelist Price (A Long and Happy Life) writes excellent fiction. But the virtues of his present book must be mined from paragraphs which, molded together, unaccountably fail to take on life. The reader moons about admiringly in a boneyard of fizzled epiphanies.

Themes reappear like sweaty dreams: the parting of failed lovers; the suicide, successful in one story, unsuccessful in another, of a...

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