In his short stories over the past several years, and in his new novel, John Cheever appears to be almost helplessly carried away by the flood tides o

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My Father and Myselfby J. R. Ackerley(Coward-McCann; $5.00) J. R. Ackerley is not much known in this country and possibly never will be. It is a small loss but a real one. In Britain, although hardly famous, he has long been a connoisseurs' choice. (His admirers include E. M. Forster, Harold Nicolson, Elizabeth Bowen and Angus Wilson.) From 1935 until 1959 he was literary editor of The Listener, the BBC weekly (a very good review section, too). During his life he published only three books--a novel and two books of memoirs--and a play.

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Early in Portnoy’s Complaint, the hero discovers that he has an undescended testicle. The image sticks in the mind, because one feels that, as a write

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Portnoy’s Complaint By Philip Roth (Random House, $6.95) Early in Portnoy’s Complaint, the hero discovers that he has an undescended testicle. The image sticks in the mind, because one feels that, as a writer, Philip Roth has had a similar problem. Goodbye, Columbus , which made his reputation, is a talented book by a young man whose voice is still changing. Letting Go impresses one as the work of a promising but temporarily impotent imagination.

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Robert Coles and Harry Huge chronicle South Carolina's persistent poverty.

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On Edges

When the ice starts to shiver all across the reflecting basin or water-lily leaves dissect a simple surface the word 'drowning' flows through me. You built a glassy floor that held me as I leaned to fish for old hooks and toothed tin cans, stems lashing out like ties of silk dressing-gowns archangels of lake-light gripped in mud. Now you hand me a torn letter. On my knees, in the ashes, I could never fit these ripped-up flakes together. In the taxi I am still piecing what syllables I can translating at top speed like a thinking machine that types out 'useless' as 'monster' and 'history' as 'la

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THE EDITORS: What's the significance of this month's trip around the moon?MR LAPP: From a technical viewpoint, a successful shot could probably move up the date of the first lunar landing from the summer of 1969 to the spring. From a scientific angle, I don't think it will add much to what we already know about the moon. After all, we have has surveyor experiments made by instruments on the lunar surface.Does the Apollo-8 flight have political significance?If we beat the Soviets around the moon we are then one up in the race to the moon--and a notch higher on the lunar totem pole.

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It has become fashionable among scholars, retired public officials, and politicians to admit that our involvement in Vietnam has not been a success. It has also become fashionable to turn from this admission of failure to the post-Vietnam future without pausing to ask what accounts for that failure. It is more important, so it is argued, to end the war than to discover what led us into it. To bury the past and get ready for the future is taken as a manifestation of both positive and patriotic thinking.

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Impasse At Paris

After more than four months and 24 sessions, the Paris talks are still at an impasse; no progress has been made; there have been only "official conversations" and no negotiations. These meetings have provided both sides with full opportunity to expound official positions on the origins and development of the conflict and to castigate each other's very different interpretations. But all this has amounted to little more than repetition of statements made publicly elsewhere by spokesmen of both governments.

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Black Cooperatives

A major preoccupation of American social scientists is demonstrating that radicals have no following. According to samplings made for Xerox's "Black America" television specials, for instance, only six percent of black people "approve" of Stokely Carmichael. For all the agitation over community control of schools in New York, the Center for Urban Education reports that only one-third of Bedford-Stuyvesant residents favor community control. These results are hardly a revelation.

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