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January 06, 1991|Charles Solomon

IN PRAISE OF OLDER WOMEN by Stephen Vizinczey (University of Chicago Press: $10.95). The first novel by the expatriate Hungarian Stephen Vizinczey, "Older Women" received little attention in the United States when it was first published in 1966, although the author became the focus of controversy when he attacked the New York critical establishment in his later works. In this exceptionally polished story, the narrator discovers the allure of mature women and embarks on a double career of academic study and bed-hopping, which he recounts with Rabelaisian glee. But Vizinczey's hero lacks the misogynic contempt that characterizes many Don Juan figures; He loves women, but he also likes and respects them.

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