THE CROWN OF COLUMBUS
by Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich
HarperCollins; 382 pages; $21.95
In the making of books, one plus one occasionally add up to less than two. Consider this highly touted first collaboration of best-selling authors -- husband and wife when not at work -- who have an array of awards to their credit. Curiously, the talent pooling has spawned a novel with as much spontaneity as if it had been plotted by computer.
Vivian Twostar -- part Navajo, wholly feminist -- is an assistant professor of anthropology, desperately seeking tenure. As the story laboriously unfolds, Vivian gives birth...