young; Johann Gutenberg’s first printednbook dates to 1436, and it has beenna mere five hundred years since Erasmusnof Rotterdam leaped fi’om hisncarriage, squatted in a muddy lane, andninspected a scrap of newsprint, sonthrilled was he to encounter the printednword. There may yet be a future fornthe written word; on the other hand,nthe age of the book may be over beforenit reaches its 600th birthday.nWhat is to be done? Codrescu issuesnwhat he calls “a manifesto for escape,”ndirected in large measure at his fellownwriters. He calls for a renewed reverencenfor language and for telling thentruth with it; he calls for public discoursenand an end to the presentncondition wherein, as he puts it, “mostnwriting today appears headed for thenresume, its final resting place.” Henurges us to take the example of othernexiles, who went Outside rather thannsubmit to the tyranny of their homelands:nAleksandr Solzhenitsyn, CzeslawnMilosz, Guillermo Cabrera Infante,nMilan Kundera. He demands anBRIEF MENTIONSnBODY by Harry CrewsnNew York: Poseidon Press; 240 pp., $18.95nrepudiation of worldwide culture, anreturn to a planet on which TimesnSquare is markedly different from PiccadillynCircus and the Cinza in everynparticular. And he sets a high subversivengoal for his peers: “The poet’snjob,” he announces, “is to short-circuitnthe imaginary globe.”nCodrescu’s manifesto is stimulatingnand, like all his books, impeccablynwell-written. It brims with the writer’snhallmark aphorisms, his witty onelinersnto trap the unwary: “ModernnRussia is an homage to Henry Ford,nnot to Kad Marx.” The Disappearancenof the Outside is a reader’s delight asnwell, a long evening’s entertainment, anbook that provokes nods of assent,nprovides plenty of room for argument,nand raises as many questions as itnattempts to answer. Switch off the setnand have a look.nGregory McNamee’s most recent booknis The Return of Richard Nixon andnOther Essays.nDorothy Turnipseed, rechristened Shereel Dupont by tier trainer and free-weightedninto world class shape, has arrived at a Florida hotel for the Ms. Cosmos worldnchampionship women’s bodybuilding contest. Come to cheer her on, all the wayndown from Waycross, Georgia, in a pair of pickup trucks, are her huge relations andnher psychotic keandsay. Nail I4ead. There to provide her stiflFest competition isnMarvella, a heavyweight from Detroit with four equally large, equally deltoid sistersnloudly in tow. For Shereel’s trainer Russell Morgan it is the championship he wasnnever so much as in the running for. For Shereel it is the fight of her life.nFans of Pumping Iron II: The Women should line up for this novel, to which thenmovie bears some relation. The contest there as here is between the advocates ofn”femininity” vs. “muscularity,” what is evidently the great controversy amongnwomen bodybuilders. But the true theme of the novel is Crews’ usual one, that thencompetition is everything. Eating, sleeping, intimacy, talk — everything is a battlenand the winner will take all. And for Nail Head, forged into violence by the VietnamnWar, and his childhood sweetheart Shereel, forged by Russell, the Ms. Cosmosncompetition quickly becomes the decisive event of their lives, beyond which is eitherneverything or nothing.nLike all Crews’ writing Body is not something to give your great-aunt; he takes anpleasure in the perverse that is unnerving. More unnerving still is the. fatalistic logicnof his Grits characters, a self-destructiveness that comes from legitimate anger at thenworld and, most importandy, strength. His Turnipseeds are demoralizing, funnyn(not laughable) and admirable, and they are, for all their bizarreness, very real. Purentragedy is pure theater. Body, billed as a tragicomedy and very funny in parts, isnmuch more like life.nHarry Crews, with his love of martial arts and boxing and other kinds of physicalnabuse, has like his characters made something of a cult of strength. Body may not be,nas touted, the best book of his career — I remain most partial to The Gospel Singernmyself—but all those weeks of power typing have not been wasted.n— Jack Ramsayn38/CHRONICLESnnnOnly the Boringnby Janet Scott BarlownDark Star: The Roy Orbison Storynby Ellis AmburnnNew York: Lyle Stuart/CarolnPublishing Group; 283 pp., $18.95nGenerally speaking, fans of earlynrock and roll fall into two categories:nthose who want to hear Roy Orbison’sn”Only the Lonely” more thannonce a year, and those who don’t—andnI belong to the latter group. One of thenstrengths of vintage rock was that itnmeant nothing more and nothing lessnthan what its teenage audience said itnmeant (unless, of course, you listen tonrock critics, but nobody does, which isnwhy, impotent and resentful, they writenmainly for each other). I always thoughtnthe music existed to make you want tonlaugh out loud, or dance, or take anwallow in adolescent melancholy, thenexperience songwriter Mickey Newburyncalled “feeling good feeling bad.”nBut rock and roll wasn’t meant toncreate pain, and that was my problemnwith Roy Orbison — his voice and hisnsongs were nothing if not emotionallynwounded. In addition, no one in rocknand roll possessed a physicality lessnsuited to rock style. Orbison had non”moves” (there was a certain integritynin that,’ but it wasn’t the kind ofnintegrity I was interested in), and whennhe covered his small, pale frame innshades, dyed and molded blue-blacknhair, and a black jumpsuit, he lookednlike somebody’s country uncle dressednup for Rock Around the Clock Nightndown at the VFW.nBut people who love Roy Orbison’snmusic really love it, and he occupies annimportant, if slightly off-center, nichenin rock and roll history. His untrainednvoice was beautiful and unique. Hisnsongwriting and musicianship were admirednby his contemporaries. And hisnlife, which included early poverty, personalntragedies, drug abuse, and a tripnfrom fame to obscurity and back again,nis the stuff of rock legends. What’snmore, he is surely alone among firstgenerationnrockers in having enjoyedncomic books and the writings of WinstonnChurchill.nWhy then, is Ellis Amburn’s DarknStar so tedious? Is it because rocknlegends who live fast and die beforen