Books: Follow the Sun

BRILL AMONG THE RUINS by Vance Bourjaily. 354 pages. Dial. $6.95.

Vance Bourjaily can be a very good writer. See, for example, the best parts of The Man Who Knew Kennedy, The Hound of Earth or even his first book, The End of My Life, a work that helped rank him up with the Capotes and the Mailers after World War II.

But this time Bourjaily fumbles sadly, delivering the important though stale news that the U.S. is in trouble: America-in-transition is sloppily represented by an Illinois lawyer named Robert Brill­a sort of Hemingway-reject hero. Brill qualifies as a case of vanishing American...

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