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And Our Critics Commend

March 16, 1986

You're Only Old Once: A Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss (Random House) "takes an uneasy old man (who is us) through the anxieties, indignities, boredom, outrages and sheer terrors of a thorough examination in that advanced technological machine, a modern hospital. . . . (Theodor Seuss Geisel) is not a gloomy prophet or philosopher. He has exorcised the world's real monsters by filling it with his own. . . . In the same way, this new book, ostensibly written for old people, may help them face up to the perils of hospitalization" (Jack Smith).

Moments of Reprieve, Primo Levi (Summit) "collects the saints, fools, schemers, clowns and crooks that Levi encountered or imagined in the concentration camp. . . . Where other Holocaust accounts--'Shoah,' for instance--find every scrap of atrocity essential for a monument whose inscription is 'Never Again,' Levi scavenges every scrap of triumph for a monument whose inscription, roughly, is 'What a Piece of Work Is Man' " (Richard Eder).

Tap City, Ron Abell (Little, Brown). This first novel, about a three-day, seven-card-stud poker tournament, "has the structure of a murder mystery: Put a limited number of antagonists around the poker table (or dinner table) and try to guess who will be eliminated (or killed) and who will emerge victorious. . . . (Ron) Abell is obviously a poker player himself and a keen observer of the ever-growing tournament scene" (David M. Hayano).

The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes; Tobias Smollet, translator; Carlos Fuentes, introduction (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "Smollett as novelist had a fondness for the raffish, the ribald, the squalid, and the extreme in society, and a masterfully comic, mock-ornate language for their depiction." The appearance of this work, out of print for a century, is "a genuine literary event" (Jack Miles).

Sea Dangers: The Affair of the Somers, Philip McFarland (Schocken). "As a portrait of a turbulent time, as naval history, as human tragedy, and as proof that the authors of American classics sometimes breathed fire and brimstone, 'Sea Dangers' is a tremendous success" (Brian Burns).

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