Books: The Lost Man

J.M. BARRIE & THE LOST BOYS

by Andrew Birkin

Potter; 323 pages; 14.95

For 75 years audiences have regarded Peter Pan as child's play. In fact, the work now enchanting a new generation on Broadway is not fantasy but tragedy. Nor is it, as the subtitle declares, about a "boy who wouldn't grow up." It is about a man who couldn't.

The stunted adult was Playwright James M. Barrie; the event that maimed him, the death in a skating accident of an older brother. Jamie, who was six when the accident occurred, imitated David, and even...

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