Books: The Nascent Id

MELINDA by Gaia Servadio. 375 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $6.95.

This novel seems to have been sprayed out of a can. As with most of the new and convenient instant satires, Melinda is compounded of 2% active ingredient and 98% harmless propellant. Even so, it should not be inhaled over a prolonged period.

Author Gaia Servadio is the beautiful Italian-born wife of William Mostyn-Owen, an art expert at Christie's, the London auction house. She has modeled, acted in experimental films, exhibited her paintings in Milan and Rome, and covered last year's Arab-Israeli war for...

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