Books: A Clarity of Mind, a Clarity of Heart

ON THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF by V.S. Pritchett Random House; 179 pages; $8.95

Hemingway wrote his stories as if he were clotting curds, squeezing the runny adjectives and opaque sentiments from his prose until action became an essence of feeling and moral. It is a style well suited for revealing character, especially that of the author. For when the passion for essences is spent, the substitute is often self-parody.

This has never happened to V.S. Pritchett, who, on the threshold of his 80th year, writes as passionately as ever. Talent, discipline and enjoyment keep the juices flowing; recognition helps. Knighted hi 1975,...

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