Books: Nice People in Glass Houses

AMERICAN APPETITES by Joyce Carol Oates; Dutton; 340 pages; $18.95

It was not true during the Victorian age, but it is now, in the midst of the Electronic. Given diminishing attention spans, stupendously prolific authors tend to wear out both readers and reviewers. Here is another book by so-and- so, they mutter, and I haven't yet found the time to get through the last two -- or is it three? Guilt breeds resentment, which in turn fosters rationalization. Anyone who writes that much must be doing a pretty slapdash job of it. And this impression has led to a distinct tilt...

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