Books: Jam of the Gods

THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE (148 pp.)—Tennessee Williams—New Directions ($2).

Playwright Tennessee Williams' first novel shows no trace of the warmth and grotesque humor that made The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire into first-class stage hits. It is written in the gutless, languid, pseudo-Jamesian manner which has become the trademark of such young novelists as Truman Capote and Frederick Buechner. In fact, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone would seem to make Tennessee Williams a member in good, if junior, standing of the new school of decadence.

One insidiously balmy Roman spring, Karen Stone, past 50, discovers that her life...

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