Books: Seasons of the Heart

WAYS OF LOVING

by BRENDAN GILL 305 pages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. $7.95.

The middle-aged lover sits on the edge of the bed, considering. The young girl wants him to underwrite their new affair with counterfeit emotion, the play money of compliments, declarations, vows. For once in his life he refuses. "Truth in a relationship," he insists to himself. "Surely it is a greater thing than kindness?" Greater, perhaps, but more painful: both he and the girl realize without saying so that their fling is already over.

Thus, in End of an Exceptionally Short Affair, the opening story of this well-wrought collection, Brendan Gill consciously...