Books: Oh No, Is It Him, Babe?

Bootlegging Dylan's life, a novel casts its hero as a scraggly haired, harmonica-playing folk singer

Who or what owns a public life? Surely not, in an age of celebrity babble, the public person who lives it. And not some over-delicate concept of historical truth. Gosh, no; didn't Shakespeare write docudrama about all those Henrys and Richards? He didn't? Well, close enough. And if we hate ourselves a little for loving our public legends too much, shouldn't we be able to get back at them by faking a few saintly relics?

A distinctly sleazy case in point is The Rich Man's Table (Knopf; 273 pages; $23), an expertly written novel by Scott Spencer, author of Endless Love,...

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