No Do-Overs

Two playful new novels ponder the possibility of second chances

History is Findley's well, and in this big, admirably adventurous book he taps into the juicy humanity of the stuff. Jung emerges as a feverishly sexual, single-minded man who is supported by his loving wife Emma. Wilde and James stir to life in their cameos, as do Jung's lesser-known colleagues. But the most remarkable figure here is Pilgrim himself. With each successive rebirth he has gone through life's wringer, approaching and recording what he sees with skepticism and folly each time around. It is an existence few of us, one thinks, could so nobly endure.

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