Fiction: war's home front; Wall St.'s invisible man

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Gone to Soldiers, by Marge Piercy. New York: Summit Books. 703 pp. $19.95. ``Gone to Soldiers'' is a very readable, intelligently written, and, at times, heart-rending novel that explores how World War II affected the lives of about a dozen characters, most of them Jewish, many of them female. Piercy gets the reader interested in her characters right from the start, although some are more sympathetic than others. There is Jacqueline, a French Jew who works for the Resistance; her cousin Ruthie, who works in a Detroit factory; Ruthie's financ'e, Murray, a Marine fighting in the Pacific; Bernice, a Women's Air Force Service pilot; and her brother Jeff, a member of the OSS and Jacqueline's lover.

Comparisons with Herman Wouk's ``The Winds of War'' and ``War and Rememberance'' are inevitable because of similarities in scope and subject matter. Yet Piercy's novel is more intimate, personal, and feminine, and nicely complements Wouk's naval saga. Memoirs of an Invisible Man, by H.F. Saint. New York: Atheneum. 396 pp. $18.95.

This entertaining and timely first novel is both a science fiction thriller and a humorous social commentary. Nick Halloway, a 34-year-old securities analyst who lives in New York, is rendered invisible during a nuclear explosion at a scientific laboratory in New Jersey. Staying just one step ahead of federal intelligence agents, he establishes a new identity, amasses a fortune on the stock market, and falls in love. Because the novel's intriguing premise is skillfully handled, the readers will find themselves believing wholeheartedly in Nick and his incredible circumstances.

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