Books: Group Portrait

DURING THE REIGN OF THE QUEEN OF PERSIA

by Joan Chase

Harper & Row; 215 pages; $13.95

"The way Gram told it was that all I she had ever had in life was kids and work and useless men and what she wanted, and had earned besides, was to be left alone." Time sweeps everything along in its great, slow spiral: Gram's farm, Uncle Dan's butcher shop, Celia's beauty. People and houses move for a while with the current, then drop away to be replaced by hazy afterimages—family gossip, family myth. This musing, brooding,...

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