Promises Unpacked

TITLE: REMEMBERING DENNY

AUTHOR: CALVIN TRILLIN

PUBLISHER: FARRAR, STRAUS & GIROUX; 210 PAGES; $19

THE BOTTOM LINE: A posthumous account of promise gone wrong, told by a master of insight and irony.

Early in Remembering Denny, the author tips his hand: "It has been my experience," he writes, "that almost anyone who asks to speak at a funeral or memorial service wants to talk about himself." So it appears; this luminous valedictory centers on the late Roger ("Denny") Hansen. But it is as much about Calvin Trillin as it is about his classmate, the golden boy of Yale, '57.

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