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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

August 27, 1995|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

LAST HOUSE: Reflections, Dreams and Observations, 1943-1991 by M.F.K. Fisher. (Pantheon: $23; 304 pp.) "I have never been attracted," writes Fisher in her imperious way, "sexually or otherwise, to people who eat grossly and without thought." But, oh, here is that same imperious woman confessing her lifelong feeling of unworthiness: "I felt that I was cheating people by letting them think that I was bright or pretty or desirable. I felt like a humbug. And so I hated them for not seeing through me, and in turn hating me . . . and this is why I am very careful about letting people like me now." And here she is, as in much of this, her last posthumously published book, remembering her father, Rex Kennedy, in a moment on the street in Paris when, "dressed outlandishly and beautifully in white linen, with a wide Panama hat on his fine beaky head . . . waved his cane . . . and cried out . . . God , but I feel good." If you love Fisher's writing, you devour everything you can get. To believe that we have really come to the end of her journals and musings and essays and introductions and stories is almost unbearable. "Missing," she wrote in the last entry here, dated 1991 (Fisher died in June, 1992), "must be accepted as part of any thinking existence, and made use of. It is a force."

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