January 17, 1982
And on and on and on. This whining continues for 143 pages of almost sadistic tedium. Zorn decides that his situation is typical of his country and, more than that, his class: ''I can't imagine that my case is unique. (The Gold Coast is very long, and overpopulated to the bursting point. And I can't imagine, either, that there are many normal people in all those multitudes living on the shores of Lake Zurich.)'' Consequently, he does not condescend to describe much personal experience, and we are consigned to the high plain of platitude.
Instead of presenting feeling, incident and character, he gives us the insights and philosophy of an isolated and protected adolescent. His cliches are embarrassing: ''No one is ready to come right out and say that love is bad; but to go so far as to say unequivocally that love is not only good but also much better than war - that is a truth too bold for middle-class society to handle, a truth that still seems obscene.'' Occasionally, through his anger, we glimpse a person placed in time, in context, in continuity with space and other people, but there is pathetically little of this. The reason may lie in Zorn's mental condition. Though we are told in the book's afterword that ''traditional psychiatry calls this state 'depression,' '' traditional psychiatrists would not call Zorn depressive. They would most likely label him a schizophrenic.
Willard Gaylin, a psychiatrist, is president of the Hastings Center. His new book, ''The Killing of Bonnie Garland: A Question of Justice,'' will be published this spring.