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THE BEST BOOKS OF 1996 | FICTION

December 29, 1996|ALICE ADAMS | Alice Adams is the author of numerous books, including "A Southern Exposure" (Fawcett) and "Medicine Man," forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf. She lives in San Francisco

I found Melissa Fay Greene's "The Temple Bombing" (Addison-Wesley) absolutely enthralling. A page-turner in the sense more often true of fiction than nonfiction, Greene's book is about the bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Atlanta in 1958 and the effect on its members--mostly rich, upper-class Jews of German extraction--and upon the community at large. Ultimately, it is a book about the effect of this terrible event on the entire relationship between blacks and whites. Greene's real subject is how some Jews came to believe that their fate was intimately bound up with the fate of blacks as well.

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