Books: Marital Blahs

LIFE BEFORE MAN

by Margaret Atwood

Simon & Schuster; 317 pages; $11.95

Can someone shout "Marriage breakup!" in a crowded theater and still be protected by the First Amendment? So exhaustively has the subject of matrimonial misery been trotted out in the arts, on TV, at cocktail parties or during chance encounters on street corners that some sort of censorship begins to seem the lesser of two evils: persons found guilty of discussing their relationships within earshot of innocent bystanders will be remanded to a private cell and forced to read Anna Karenina. At the very least, novels adding still more sad husbands...

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