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And Our Critics Commend

November 24, 1985

Back in the World, Tobias Wolff (Houghton Mifflin) speaks of "the pain inside the painlessness. . . . Like an opthalmological surgeon with huge hands, (Tobias) Wolff presents the paradox of big energy applied to microscopic artisanry . . . . In the depleted atmosphere, every scream is silent. Each of Wolff's stories is an amplifier picking up the sound that cannot get through" (Richard Eder).

Beyond the Helix: DNA and the Quest for Longevity, Carol Kahn (Times Books) "is a lucid, thorough, and responsible account of a most exciting branch of biology. It will appeal to the reader interested in up-to-the-minute longevity research, to the reader interested in how science really works and even to the reader who just enjoys sitting down with a good mystery" (Robert Finn).

In Search of Shakespeare: A Reconnaissance Into the Poet's Life and Handwriting, Charles Hamilton (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). "Everyone wants to pluck out the heart of Shakespeare's mystery, and Charles Hamilton believes that he has done so. He scrambles out of bed at 5 a.m. . . . and excitedly reports on finding notes in Shakespeare's hand: 'A chill shot up my spine, and lifted the hair on the back of my neck' " (R. A. Foakes).

Safe Houses, Lynne Alexander (Atheneum). "Using the Holocaust as her base, (Lynne) Alexander has elaborated upon the legend of Raoul Wallenberg, the heroic Swedish diplomat who rescued so many of the doomed. . . . Weighed down by a cargo of imagery, burdened with an unwieldy plot, listing first to fact and then to fantasy, this ambitious novel stays afloat by sheer bravura" (Elaine Kendall).

The Immigrant's Daughter, Howard Fast (Houghton Mifflin). "While Barbara Lavette, the central character, . . . is neither Tom Paine nor Spartacus, she's clearly on the side of the angels; a senior superwoman, beautiful, brave and just . . . . Functional and efficient, (Howard) Fast's prose is a machine in which plot and ideals mesh, turn and clash" (Elaine Kendall).

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