Books: Far from the Madding Fight

MARLING HALL — Angela Thirkell —Knopf ($2.50).

Novelist Angela Thirkell has achieved a devoted readership by reducing the English novel to a humorous commentary on almost complete inaction. Like her master, Anthony Trollope, whose literary landscape (Barsetshire) she has borrowed for her own books, Novelist Thirkell's world is timeless, cloudless, windless. Practically the only motion is that of the British gentry and middle classes pouring tea. Practically the only sound is the titters, snickers and snorts of confirmed Thirkell readers at the foibles of familiar Thirkell characters.

Marling Hall, Thirkellians will be...

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