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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

July 31, 1994|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

BREAKFAST AT THE VICTORY: The Mysticism of Ordinary Experience by James Carse. (HarperCollins: $21 ; 232 pp.) These are a series of gracefully written essays on the varieties of mystical experience. They almost always begin with the small and immediate, and end with the enormous yet intimate. They are very specific to the life and experience of James Carse, director of religious studies at New York University since 1966, so from time to time one feels forgotten, left behind, but they succeed in teaching a kind of vision and appreciation for the otherwise regular and humdrum. In several, Carse's recently deceased and much beloved wife Alice plays a role, usually that of teacher, and in fact, one senses that it is the sheer pain of loss that has taught Carse to look over his shoulder or down at the street.

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