the women, but Ms. Didion is unusual innbeing remarkably hard on everyone. Nongroup — whether Jewish, Islamic, Latin ornAmerican—is portrayed in other thannwithering sarcasms. In the aggregate thisnastonishes, for the author is considered ansuccessful woman which should have entitlednher to a bit of magnanimity. Apparently,nthe latter does not sell these daysnat Brentano’s which somehow coincidesnwith the circumstance that novels like thisnone do sell but remain alive only duringntheir sojourn on the bestseller list.nMs. Didion’s novel conveys a sense ofndespair and a conviction that life isnmeaningless. It merits attention not fornsuch unhappy views, but because thenauthoress is considered a leading lightnamong a fashionable coterie. Her work is angood example of what major New Yorknpublishers consider a serious offering to thisnnation. Beyond that, there is an essentialnobservation that must be made regardingnThe Liberal Opinionnthe judgment of both the author and thenpublisher. Whichever its metaphoric innuendo,nto title this compendium of drearynand messy existences A Book of CommonnPrayer is to insult not only the members ofnthe Episcopal Church. That the editors ofnSimon and Schuster could so openlynreveal such an anti-Christian prejudice isnanother and very important subject thenexecutives at Gulf & Western would do wellnto talk over at their family tables with theirnchildren who, after reading enthusiasticnreviews in the liberal press, might considernMs. Didion a spiritual and behavioralnbeacon — instead of a firefly — of our times.n•—Otto J. ScottnMr. Scott, a native New Yorker, publishednbiographies of James I and Robespierre, and nownwrites from San Diego.n”Like her narrator, she (Didion) has been an articulate witness to the most stubborn andnintractable truths of our time, a memorable voice, partly eulogistic, partly despairing; alwaysnin control.” — 7%e jVeui York Times Book Review.n”… Joan Didion has produced a remarkable modern variation on Henry James’ 3^e Portraitnof a Lady.”—Time.n”This is a remarkably good novel.”—Newsweek,n”No one, I suppose, would be likely to accuse Didion of naivete. Her work is pungent withnknowingness . . . Under her pared phrases one senses the quick of desire for something morennoble, more tender, and more enduring than crass contemporary realism . . .” —SaturdaynReview.n”Thete is a nobility here, across the board. It is a sense of having hung around for the worst,nand having taken the best when it unhid itself … A sense that the prominence of the unsavoryn(and the diminished and compressed and symbolic) exceeds its light, that to know anythingnwhole and tell it whole, is to survive it.” —New Times.nChronicles orCttlture -»nnn