Books: Souls for Sale

THE CHILD BUYER (257 pp.)—John Hersey—Knopf ($4).

Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal was that society, to cure starvation, might as well eat children. Novelist John Hersey's equally bitter suggestion is that society, responding to worse and more complex hungers, might just as well buy children. In his first attempt at satire. Hersey can scarcely measure up to Swift; compared to such a model, his passions seem intellectualized. his anger scattered, his cutting edge often blunted by farce. His novel nevertheless is a salutary piece of negative thinking about national vagaries in the matters of...

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