Books: Bare Survival

SOMETHING TO ANSWER FOR by P. H. Newby. 285 pages. J. 8. Lippincott. $5.95.

What tortures a P. H. Newby hero goes through! In real life Newby is the gentlemanly chief of the BBC's gentlemanly Third Programme; in his fiction he is committed to the notion that a novelist's job is to beat the truth out of his characters. With an author like him, a novel has no need of villains.

Something to Answer For finds Newby at his often brilliant but racking best. If the reader does not mind getting his lumps, he will...

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