Books: A Myth to Be Taken on Faith

THE TEMPLE OF MY FAMILIAR by Alice Walker

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 416 pages; $19.95

Alice Walker ascended from the realm of mere literature after Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of her novel The Color Purple. The movie's huge commercial success -- and the controversy that arose over its portrait of black males -- ensured Walker's public renown as a woman with a cause, an author who, when she has a message, would rather write a book than call Western Union. Indeed, her poetry and fiction have always been, to some extent, polemical. Now that her potential audience has increased many times over,...

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