Notable books for the week of June 22, 1990 -- Short reviews on recently released titles

Notable books for the week of June 22, 1990


* Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart Joyce Carol Oates (Dutton, $19.95) The masterful realist at the peak of her powers. Comparisons with Balzac, Dickens, and Hardy are not farfetched. A

* The Burden of Proof Scott Turow (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $22.95) Although The Burden of Proof lacks the surefire thriller devices that helped make Presumed Innocent such a commanding piece of storytelling, readers who persevere will be rewarded. B

* Citizen Jane: The Turbulent Life of Jane Fonda Christopher Andersen (Henry Holt, $19.95) A marginally better take on the actress than the Bill Davidson biography (see below). C+

* Disturbing the Peace Vaclav Havel; translated by Paul Wilson (Knopf, $19.95) Readers interested in learning more about this most reluctant of political heroes will find no better place to begin than this memoir/interview. A-

* Family Pictures Sue Miller (Harper & Row, $19.95) An ordinary Chicago family with an autistic child — a loving, suffering family that endures and tries to learn. A

* Going Back to the River Marilyn Hacker (Vintage, paperback, $9.95) No contemporary poet writes so well of the comedy of love as Marilyn Hacker, and none can approach her inviting combination of relaxation, wit, and formality. A-

* An Inconvenient Woman Dominick Dunne (Crown, $19.95) Dunne’s most recent chronicle of well-heeled heels, this time in Hollywood. B

* Jane Fonda: An Intimate Biography Bill Davidson (Dutton, $18.95) One of two recent unauthorized — and undistinguished — biographies of the actress. D

* Myself and Marco Polo: A Novel of Changes Paul Griffiths (Random House, $17.95) A whimsical meditation on Marco Polo and his wonder-filled account of 13th-century China. B+

* Raw, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Penguin, paperback, $14.95) Offbeat stories and drawings by an international group of artists who prefer the punkish, eclectic look of the word ”commix” to the old-fashioned ”comics” label. A

* Rolling Stone Magazine: The Uncensored History Robert Draper (Doubleday, $19.95) A brisk and passionate account of the magazine’s tumultuous 23 years. B

* Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students & Their High School Samuel J. Freedman (Harper & Row, $22.95) An exhaustive, unsentimental report from the battle-scarred regions of American education. A

* Walter Winchell Michael Herr (Knopf, $18.95) In his first book of fiction, Michael Herr (Dispatches) creates a new form — the screenplay as novel. A

* Wildlife Richard Ford (Atlantic Monthly Press, $18.95) What begins as a wise, humane, and disarmingly simple novel of domestic distress soon grows discouragingly dull. C+


* Francois Truffaut: Correspondence 1945-1984 Edited by Gilles Jacob and Claude de Givray; foreword by Jean-Luc Godard (Noonday Press, paperback, $19.95) A chronicle of his time and work in letter form by the director of The 400 Blows, Day for Night, and Jules and Jim.

* Lilly: Reminiscences of Lillian Hellman Peter Feibleman (Avon, paperback, $10.95) The formidable Lillian Hellman, warts and all.

* Morning Food Margaret S. Fox and John Bear (Ten Speed Press, $19.95) Recipes from Mendocino’s Cafe Beaujolais, including pumpkin and ginger pancakes and chocolate coffee cake.

* Seeing Through Movies Mark Crispin Miller, editor (Pantheon, $24.95) A collection of articles that casts a cold eye on movies and the movie business.

* War and Peace in the Nuclear Age John Newhouse (Vintage, paperback, $16.95) The companion volume to the PBS series of the same name.