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Lizzie SkurnickMiner is bent on making his peers answer yes to the rhetorical question, ''Don't we all settle, Valley Cats?'' The great mystery is why Miner himself has. It's partly a corporeal problem -- he has never understood how ''to 'make something of myself' . . . as it implies I am both the raw material and the artisan manipulating it.'' But, as Lipsyte pointedly shows, Miner is less a loser than an avatar of failure, a high priest of defects. What he truly wants is to enlighten those of us who have yet to acknowledge our own flaws -- in other words, almost everybody.
— The New York Times