Books: Sexual Detente THE TRUTH ABOUT LORIN JONES

by Alison Lurie Little, Brown; 328 pages; $18.95

"Polly Alter used to like men, but she didn't trust them anymore, or have very much to do with them." Is Polly anyone we know? Of course she is. This first line of Alison Lurie's eighth novel may not rank with "Call me Ishmael," but it fits an age in which communication between the sexes sometimes seems to be conducted solely through therapists and lawyers. Thus Lurie, whose The War Between the Tates (1974) was a notably witty account of sexual skirmishing, labels her new book as the trendiest of problem novels.

But does Polly, a fortyish art historian at work...

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