by Rebecca West. Viking, $18.95. After breaking off her long liaison with H. G. Wells and suffering the humiliating collapse of a proposed love affair with Lord Beaverbrook, West began a novel about the whole frustrating business of trying to get along with brilliant, cantankerous men. She never finished the book, which in any case had a rather strange scheme, for although her portrayals of Wells and Beaverbrook were libelously accurate, she substituted for herself the completely non-intellectual Sunflower, a beautiful blonde actress with no education and a private yen for middle-class domesticity. As Victoria Glendinning, who edited the surviving manuscript, observes, “The difficulty with Sunflower’s alleged stupidity and inarticulacy is that her creator cannot, as it were, live down to it. . . ” Indeed she could not. It may have been, as Ms. Glendinning suggests, fear of reprisal that deterred completion of the book, but it may also have been the author’s realization that Sunflower was, and always would be, a ludicrous understudy for Rebecca West. The text now published has some fine dramatic scenes and rather more bogs of boredom, and will be of interest primarily to West’s devotees.