by Margaret Atwood
Doubleday; 446 pages; $18.95
The shopper, a woman nearing 50, pauses before a cosmetics counter. "I'd use anything if it worked," she reflects. "Slug juice, toad spit, eye of newt, anything at all to mummify myself, stop the drip-drip of time, stay more or less the way I am."
And then Elaine Risley moves on. She is poignantly aware that all the rejuvenating creams and unguents in the world are useless against the abrasions of time. Only two devices have ever been known to arrest the years: memory and art. She puts both to use in...