telling and smooth delineation of bothncharacters and situations. This time, henhas reached for a greater profundity, venturedninto more elusive dimensions ofnthe self-imposed task—and the resultnseems a success. The reader respondsnwith comprehension and involvement—nand what more could a writer yearn for?nPerhaps for durability in human minds,nor for a part in shaping human consciousness,nor for a momentous discoverynof the epoch’s alchemy.’ A writer whonaccomplishes that feat, remains a presence,nhis message, or exegesis, lives afternhe’s gone. A writer who has written jusinan excellent novel whatever its virtues,nvalues and brilliance—is just a successfulnwriter. Into which category IVIr.nFowles falls after Daniel Martin, it’sndifficult to tell now. Within a couple ofnyears, he and we will know whether he’llnbe accepted as a literary measuringnmodule, or reviewers given to nostalgicnreferences will mention him as one ofnthe success stories of the ’70s. DnWaste of MoneynHarrington’snSocialdemocracynBluesnMichael Harrington: A Journey tonthe World’s Poor;nSimon & Schuster; New York, 1977.nIn this book, IMr. Harrington is plaguednby an imperative to reject the nagging ofnhis own conscience which needles himnabout the dismal destitution of the world’snunderdeveloped, starving South as juxtaposednwith the overweight, industrialnNorth. He does not want to rely onnconscience, but wants to see action basednon proper planning, research, and thenconversion of a bad capitalism into a goodnone. Eventually, he subsides into conscience-riddenngriping, and ends up, quiten181nChronicles of Cultttrenpredictably, with the old, safe, anti-capitalisticngrievances, as well as with thenconviction that U.S. labor unionism isnan oasis of idealism. He is unable tonexplain why, although planning is virtuallyna global phenomenon, the worldnis economically in a worse mess thannever. He knows even less why Russia,nwhich has total planning, must importnbasic food from the remnants of then”anarchistic” free market which havensurvived, in limited form, here and there.nAll in all, he knows very little, bravelynadmits a lot of helplessness, but thennboldly resorts to condemning and suggesting,nwhich, of course, makes his initialnmodesty void. DnSnepp’s Fast BucknFrank Snepp: Decent Interval;nRandom House; New York, 1977.nAnother “passage” in the anti-CIA paranoia.nIntelligence agencies inevitablynhire a number of street-wise, swaggeringngo-getters who fall for the trench-coatnmystique and playing with a gun. At thenvery first sign of their bragging aboutntheir “connection” they are dropped andnleft to themselves, which leads to theirnbecoming raconteurs in cheap bars. Inntotalitarian countries, they soon disappearnin gulags. In Western Europe—they occasionallynsurvive as small-time luncheonettenowners with plenty of pub Jamesbondismnto spill over the counter, or theynmay even marry a rich widow who likesnto listen to their tales. In America, theynwrite books in which they denounce theirnformer employer and the liberal criticsnsing the praises of their low-brow historiography.nLike others of his stripe, Mr. Sneppnputs the blame for historical disasters onnhis immediate superiors whom he hatesnthe way the prototype sergeant smartsnagainst the commissioned officer. If henhad read Homer, he would know that inndebacles the petty people must find humannscapegoats, while the real culpritsnare gods who had previously decided whonwould be the loser and who would be thennnwinner. At its dawn, literature discoverednthat the causes of catastrophes involve ancosmic mess, a scourge visited upon thendoomed by iVIoira. Thus, the rout duringnVietnam’s last days must not be blamednon the visible bunglers, but on the newnOlympus of public opinion to which thenlesser gods of the presidency, Congress,nand the Colbys have bowed. Their underlingsnin turn—generals, ambassadors,nCIA agents, etc.—were simply bewilderednmortals whose impact on eventsnwas similar to that of the Royal Navy’snequipment on what happened at Dunkirk.nBut Mr. Snepp, as he freely admits, joinednthe CIA at an early age in order to evadenthe draft, thus small wonder he had nontime to study and learn from the fountainsnof ancient wisdom. This is why VillagenVoice called him “a hero for accuracyn. . .” and praised him for “a kind ofnloyalty.” Loyalty to whom? Accuracy innwhat? Those are quandaries that do notntrouble a liberal reviewer. DnHamill’snIrish SchmalznPete Ham ill: Flesh and Blood;nRandom House; New York, 1977.nThere have always been and still arencertain preconditions for a picaresquensaga, a street ballad, or a modern gutternepic: a romantic morality and some truenessnto old-fashioned, even if naive,nvalues. Cynicism and rancorous savvynhave never worked in this literary genre;nneither have they worked in any literarynvision of the world shaped by a merenintellectual search for behavioral kinkiness.nWhen artsy, modish and pseudointellectualnpretensions come from purensensationalism, tailored to Gotham’sn”sophistication” and labeled literature,nthe results are laughable. This is exactlynwhat happened to Mr. HamiU, a Manhattanngazeteer. Daily Ne ws man-abouttown,nand convivialist of the city’s chicnbohemia. He presents an amusing casenof altar boy chutzpah by trying to writenan ail-American epic about manliness.n