Basilisk On The Red-Eye

TITLE: AFTER HENRY

AUTHOR: JOAN DIDION

PUBLISHER: SIMON & SCHUSTER; 319 PAGES; $22

THE BOTTOM LINE: Having cut the '70s dead, the author now draws blood from the '80s.

Joan Didion's latest collection shuttles between coasts, examining the past decade as played out in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington. A basilisk on the red-eye, Didion turns a deadly gaze on the centers of entertainment, journalism and politics. Her evidence indicates a blurring of distinctions in show business, news business and government. Careful distinctions seem, in fact, to be out of fashion. Thought and art increasingly imitate life in its...

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