Books: Conflagrations

A WEED FOR BURNING by Conrad Detrez Translated by Lydia Davis Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 258 pages; $13.95

The title is ironic: the unwanted plant is the author. All his life, Conrad Detrez, 48, has been inflamed by credos and causes. The Belgian youth became an ardent mystic and prepared for the monastic life at the Roman Catholic University of Louvain in the 1950s. A few years later he was a lay missionary in Brazil. There he was appalled by the misery of the masses he had come to inspire with the message of Christ. Soon...

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