Words: dissolve, v.

ARE JOHN Baxter's eyes defunct? His biography of Woody Allen opens with the Carlyle on the wrong avenue, and has Allen creeping "through back alleys, fire doors and corridors from his apartment to the kitchen areas of the Carlyle" for his Monday-night gig. In fact, he has to cross Madison Avenue.

The book continues in this sour, ramshackle way, but has some interest, as in Allen's describing his marriage to Louise Lasser as dissolved. She's furious. " `Dissolved'? I like that. A di-vorce is a cut-off, whereas `dissolved' means it gradually goes into something different." Wrong - Allen has Chaucer and the Brontes, among others, on his side. Ms Lasser is perhaps thinking of the cinematic term: an apt one for Allen's lingering with past loves.

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