Books: One To Miss

BEDROCK by Lisa Alther

Knopf; 325 pages; $19.95

How can I persuade you not to read Lisa Alther's new novel, Bedrock? Since her first novel, Kinflicks, remains a fondly remembered artifact of the 1970s fusion of feminism and sexual freedom, a conventional negative review might convey the unintended message that this book is merely disappointing. But shouting from the rooftops "This is drivel!" would make me seem like the kind of insensitive male who is rooting for the Donald in the divorce dispute of the decade.

Ideally, an emblematic passage would provide the unambiguous evidence of awfulness. Alther's opening three words...

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