September 14, 1981 12:00 PM

by Robert Lieberman

A pitiful, hunchbacked librarian in Ithaca, N.Y., though almost 60, goes into a field and gives virgin birth to a beautiful daughter. The infant has a singing voice of mesmerizing beauty. That’s just the beginning of this third novel by a member of the Cornell University physics faculty. Another major character is a composer who after early success has ended up as a frustrated music professor. He finds fresh inspiration in Baby’s lovely melodies. Unfortunately, Lieberman tortures readers by telling them what’s going to happen long before events take place. He explains constantly, includes irrelevant details and repeats himself. When Baby becomes the focus of a religion and is kidnapped, the book goes out of control. There’s a good idea for a funny little tale in this novel, but Lieberman suffocates it. (Crown, $12.95)

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