Books: The Show-Off MOON TIGER

by Penelope Lively Grove; 208 pages; $15.95

Forget about Marguerite Higgins, Mary Welsh Hemingway or the shoulder-padded heroines whom Rosalind Russell used to play in the movies. Those female legends of the '30s and '40s may have been superwomen, but consider the perfections of Claudia Hampton, war correspondent, popular historian, prized sexual partner to many men. (Claudia is also a terrible mother, but that seems to go with the territory.)

She is beautiful, of course. "People notice one's association with Claudia," observes one of her lovers, a multimillionaire entrepreneur. "Men are envious -- women are impressed." Claudia is also formidable. Her only child Lisa cowers in the knowledge...

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