Books: The Joys of Glass and Gambling OSCAR AND LUCINDA

by Peter Carey; Harper & Row; 433 pages; $18.95

The year is 1866, and an English governess consigned to doleful duty in a remote Australian backwater has her thoughts interrupted by a preposterous vision: "She was running through her list of unsatisfactory or irritating or boorish suitors when she saw a church made from glass towed into her field of vision by two men in wide straw hats." This is no hallucination. The crystalline minicathedral that floats into view, with a framework of iron, measures 50 ft. in length and 22 ft. 6 in. across. It weighs twelve tons.

By the time the governess beholds the church, Australian Author Peter...

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