This is the fourth of four novels (The Silence of History; What Time Collects; Lonely for the Future) all stemming out of Valley City and Chicago in the late '20's, and the consensus has been that what was once so alive in Studs Lonigan has now become stale, flat and certainly less profitable. This picks up characters of the early books--in particular Anne Daniels, now divorced, and Roger Raymond; thirty minutes after he spots her in the elevator, he has her on top of the bed ""in a fever of fornication"" where they spend most of their waking hours and where the book spends its first half. The relationship slackens in boredom; brother George, broke, comes to stay with them; even though George seems to be congenitally unemployable, she goes off with him to a hotel--then to an apartment to start again. . . . Brand New Life is the same old Farrell, a relentlessly prosaic transcription of philistines, Babbitts and rabbits.