Books: Dicey Clams Nowhere by Thomas Berge

by Thomas Berger Delacorte; 190 pages; $14.95

Like Samuel Butler's Erewhon, Thomas Berger's principality of Saint Sebastian can be found on no map, but its significance will be clear to any reader with a sufficiently jaundiced eye. Tucked away in Middle Europe, somewhere between Johann Strauss's Vienna and Kafka's Prague, the country subsists on a precarious economy of universal credit. Politics and journalism are against the law; pederasty is condoned, but rudeness is considered a crime against the state. The government bureaucracy includes the absurdly named Ministry of Clams, a sort of dead-letter office for all insoluble problems, whose minister believes that attempting to solve them would be...

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