Books: The Damned



347 pages. Lippincott. $10.

If Dostoyevsky were reincarnated as an Englishman, he might write novels like Piers Paul Read. His books are packed with demons perceived as the rattling of a vicar's teacups, clubrooms full of failed saints and even failed sinners, all wearing the old school tie. In short, crime and, above all, punishment during a weekend on a Cornwall estate.

In his sixth novel Read has traveled abroad and into history for a theme, attempting to write what could be thought of as his Brothers Karamazov, Polish-style. Stefan Kornowski−saint, sinner, intellectual−is Alyosha-Dmitri-Ivan all in one. The son...

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