With her first two novels, particularly her second (The Nowhere City) it was readily recognized that Alison Lurie is a bright young novelist with a good deal of equipment--irony, an attentive eye, a retentive ear. This her third book, except for its academic point of origin (a small university; a young sociologist-narrator) relates little to the earlier ones and is in a sense considerably more original while just as accomplished. It's a kind of seance fiction about a small cult known as The Seekers in upstate New York and an attempt to do a little ""interaction study"" on them by two data gatherers who before long lose their scientific cool, particularly when faced with their sibyl, Verena, who has special gifts. Verena and her Seekers Claim to be receiving messages from a planet Varna Full of Spiritual Light and Cosmic Love. Cosmic Love has different manifestations (particularly for Roger Zimmern who tells the story) and before long he is involved, not only with Verena but with the Seekers who prepare for the Coming.... Read on...you will, since the book is a startler with hypnotic control, or as the Seekers say, magnetic persistence. Certainly there's both wit and an incisive intelligence at work--to entertain.