Books: Hard-Boiled But Semi-Tough

HARP by John Gregory Dunne; Simon & Schuster; 235 pages; $18.95

Confession is a religious ritual and a literary device, a point that John Gregory Dunne has illustrated a number of times during his career as a U.S. journalist and novelist. For example, Vegas (1974) was an unflattering, candid account of a bad time in the author's life, an on-the-road book that played personal problems against the city that passes for Sodom, U.S.A.

In a field that includes his wife Joan Didion, Dunne has held his own as an observer of public and private wastelands. But he has found a more...

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