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July 28, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE VILLAGE by David Mamet (Little, Brown/ Back Bay: $11.95, 238 pp.). In this quirky novel, playwright David Mamet assembles the story out of fragments of dialogue and description, like the tesserae of a mosaic. His New England hamlet is populated by misfits: a young woman whose mere presence reduces men to lusty babblers; a hardware store owner who frets his way into bankruptcy; a man who compulsively chops wood while his marriage founders. Mamet offers an unsettling portrait of people whose physical proximity fails to breach their psychological isolation.

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