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March 21, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

COMING INTO THE END ZONE: A Memoir by Doris Grumbach (W.W. Norton: $9.95; 256 pp.). At 70, the noted author, editor and critic finds her health slowly declining while friends half her age quickly succumb to AIDS. After reading one obituary, she reflects, "His death is not a solitary phenomenon; many others are dying of the same irrevocable disease. The tragedy of his death, and the death of the others, is that they are all young. Their talents have been blasted by a God seemingly blind to their value and deaf to their prayers and the prayers of their friends." Not all of the passages are grim. When Grumbach decides to leave the darkening urban squalor of Washington, D.C., for an old house on the coast of Maine, she shares her delight in the scenic beauty of the region. This thoughtful memoir suggests an extended conversation with a wise and kindly grandmother.

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