is built on wide discontent basednon often genuine grievances,nwhich inspire grandiose illusions,nwhich are, in turn, fed byndemogogic speeches of leadersnwho are themselves deluded,ncynical and monomaniacal. Thenbrief spasm of revolt was characterizednby wholesale, mercilessnkilling that startles the readernwith its savagery. There arenno heroes in The Year of thenFrench, only sad intimations ofnlike years to come, elsewhere.n(EJW) DnPerceptiblesnCharles Gaines: Dangler;nSimon & Schuster; New York.nThe number of millionairesnin the U.S. isn’t growing as fastnas it did last year, according tonfigures from the U.S. Trust ofnNew York, a bank that specializesnin such sums. The bank’snsurvey indicates that the percentagenof newly wealthy rosen10.3% in 1980, while 15.47onmade the mark in 1979. However,nthis slowing may be justnas well, considering Dangler.nThe novel concerns the wealthyn(read: Super Rich) in America:nnot the ones who made thenmoney, but those who have andnspend it. That is, in looking atnthe rich, there are usually threentypes: the crusty old man whonmade the money through his entrepreneurialncapabilities andntenacity; his offspring, who werenraised in the lap of luxury; andnthe third generation, who don’tnknow what a wallet is for and whonthink “work” is a periodic callnto their broker. Many membersnof the Liberal Culture fall intonthe third group, as can be readilyndiscerned by their support fornmassive spending programs.nAfter all, they never see the deductionsnon a paycheck stub.nGaines, in a pleasurably scath­ning manner, deals with the thirdngroup. The setting of the novelnis the Dangler Adventure CampnWildwood, which is somethingnof a combination of TV’s “FantasynIsland” and the film Westworld.nHere the “campers” staynfor $2000 a week, living andndining in luxury, and playing inn”a controlled wilderness setting.”nBut as time goes on, KennethnDangler, the proprietor, anman described as resemblingnGeorge Armstrong Custer, takesnthe controls off things. Gradually,nthe New Hampshire countrysidenisn’t as friendly as it oncenwas: the campers experience itnas it really is. Dangler recognizesnthat the rich are becoming fatnand soft (excluding himself andnhis wife), and his plan is to makenthem tough by subjecting themnto the rigors of boar hunting,nrock climbing, etc.—puttingnthe equipment bought at L. L.nBean to the test. And with all thenWaste of MoneynBargain-Basement KafkanThomas Berger: Neighbors;nE>elacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence;nNew York.nby William O’BriennIt was Kafka who taught menthat at any moment banalitynmight turn sinister, for existencenwas not meant to benunfailingly genial.n— Thomas BergernNew York Times BooknReview, April 10, 1980nNeighbors is the tenth novelnby an American writer whosentalent some claim is vastlynMr. O ‘Brien is a student of Englishnand theology at Notre DamenUniversity.npossible consequences. Henwants to form a cadre of Peoplen(not any of the 10.3% who madenit in 1980) who will “take backnthe leadership that is rightfullyn[theirs] by birth and blood.” Butnhe doesn’t tell the campers ofnhis plan; they must learn thenhard way.nThe novel is truly in thenAmerican tradition: this approachnto Americanism goesnstraight back to Natty Bumppo.nBut when all is said and done,none can only think of GeneralnCuster’s last words at the Battlenof Little Big Horn: “We’ve gotnthem!” Not only are the rich different,nbut Gaines indicates thatnthey will always remain thatnway: a Boy Scout may become anmillionaire, but a millionairenwon’t become a Boy Scout. Afternall, why take chances on pickingna morel when the cook can putnin a purchase order for truffles.’n(GSV) Dnunderrated and whose comicnvirtuosity, his devotees insist,ninvites comparison to Twain. Innprevious works Berger hasndelved into a variety of literarynlandscapes, including the Westernnepic {Little Big Man), Arthuriannlegend (ArthurRex), thenprivate-eye thriller (Who Is TeddynVillanova?) and the war storyn(Crazy in Berlin). His latest offeringnsets out for new terrain,nseemingly more humble innscope. Yet that humble terrainnis fertile soil: Berger seeks Kafka’snsinister banality in the timehonorednAmerican ritual ofnneighborly intercourse.nEarl Keese, a middle-aged,nslightly stocky homeowner, isnenjoying a quiet early-eveningnnndrink with his inscrutable wife,nEnid, in their comfortable housennestled at the cul-de-sac of ancountry road. They share theirnmisgivings about the new, yetunencounterednoccupants of thenrecently vacated house next doorn—the only other house on thenstreet. The peaceful evening isnabruptly interrupted by the arrivalnof the subjects in question:nRamona and Harry, a youngncouple whose arrogance andnchameleonlike demeanor sparknchaos in the Keese household.nEarl is the victim of unceasingnand incomprehensible harassmentnfrom these erstwhilenstrangers. His bafflement yieldsnto a desperate endeavor for reasonnand reconciliation, finallyndegenerating into retributionnand rage. Berger satirically orchestratesnthe farcical escalationnof confusion, clashingntempers and finally violence—nRamona’s sexual advances followednby accusations of rapen(plus a similar charge fromnHarry), Harry’s casual “borrowing”nof money and Earl’s car,nthe newcomers’ commandeeringnof the Keese household, mutualndestruction of autos, variousnphysical assaults, even homicidalnattempts—all with a minglingnof sporadic gestures of affectionatenfriendship, which further bewildernpoor Earl. Like Jacob’snangel visitors in reverse, Harrynand Ramona are devils in disguisenwho provoke Earl to undesirednrage, even alienating hirnnfrom his wife and daughter. Intonthe midst of these middle-classnpugilistics Berger slips somenheady moralizing: ” ‘A lot ofncountries are like that,’ Harrynsaid. ‘Pillboxes at the border,nbarbed wire, minefields. Andnwho’s on the other side.’ Humannbeings, just other men.’ “nAll meant to be quite funnynand significant stuff, it seems,na captivating, cutting satirenwhich, like Earl’s idiosyncracynof frequent optical illusionsn(“Perhaps a half-dozen times antmm^mm^mmmmm^m^nXovcmbcr/Dcccmbcr 1980n