BOOKS: JUST THE FACTS (MAYBE...)

FROM A TIRED CONCEIT PAUL THEROUX PLUCKS HIS BEST NOVEL TO DATE

Paul Theroux's 20th novel, My Other Life (Houghton Mifflin; 456 pages; $24.95), begins on a decidedly unpropitious note, an Author's Note, in fact, in which Theroux describes his novel as "an imaginary memoir" and goes on to say that "even an imagined life resembles one that was lived; yet in this I was entirely driven by my alter ego's murmur of 'what if?'" Groaning seems a proper response at this point. Oh boy, another self-regarding writer playing solipsistic games for his own amusement. Anything good on the tube?

Patience is recommended because it will be handsomely rewarded. My Other Life is...

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