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And Our Critics Commend

September 01, 1985

Saratoga Hot, Hortense Calisher (Doubleday). Eight "small novels." The title piece, "simultaneously a love story, an acutely observed satire and a nostalgic commentary on the era when racing was the sport of kings . . . seems closest to the author's stated purpose of creating 'an apocalypse in a small cup' " (Elaine Kendall).

The Image and Other Stories, Isaac Bashevis Singer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "Singer, supremely aware of death and the consequent obliteration of his vibrant past, is racing against time to ensure that when he is gone, Aunt Yentl and all the rest will have entered the memories and souls of others" (Janet Hadda).

A Passion for Excellence, Tom Peters, Nancy Austin (Random House). While its observations are at times "screamingly obvious," the book "is just the thing to give to a manager--your boss--who has . . . hidden himself from the marketplace, behind a pile of technical and financial information," unable to recognize that American workers will take pride in their jobs "as long as they have a reason to do so" (S. C. Gwynne).

The Root: The Marines in Beirut, August 1982-February 1984, Eric Hammel. While the book fails to explain why the Marines were kept in Beirut long after it became clear that American policy in Lebanon had failed, Hammel provides "a fine account" of what they endured before and after the bombings (Marvin Seid).

Smart Cookies Don't Crumble: A Modern Woman's Guide to Living and Loving Her Own Life, Sonya Friedman (Putnam's). While Friedman follows the formula of self-help books, she has "selected an area of great importance to a large segment of the American female population--the myth that life offers less challenge, less of everything, to women past the age of 30" (Angela Rinaldi).

Mainland, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (Linden). After an adulterous affair, Eleanor "begins a frantic conversation not with her husband or her lover, but with the ghosts of her mother and grandmother, furiously housekeeping in heaven" (Carolyn See).

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