1 + 1 Is Less Than 2

THE CROWN OF COLUMBUS by Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich

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...

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