Dr. Cronin's novel ["A Thing of Beauty"], his best since "The Citadel" almost twenty years ago, is an object lesson in the power a writer can infuse into a story when he becomes deeply involved in its theme. In his last book, "Beyond This Place," Dr. Cronin was the professional story teller, standing aloof from his characters and spinning his tale with a craftsman's competence but a personal disinterest. In his new book, the story of an English painter persecuted for his art, he writes with a crusading fervor that makes this one of the most moving novels of the...
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