04/20/1981 at 01:00 AM EST
>•ELLIS ISLAND, by Mark Helprin. A marvelous music runs through this collection of short stories by a Jewish writer who's a young I.B. Singer.
•GORKY PARK, by Martin Cruz Smith. A cynical and tough Moscow cop fends off the FBI and KGB in an off-the-beaten-track murder mystery.
•OF WOMEN AND THEIR ELEGANCE, by Norman Mailer. The laureate of male chauvinism artfully piles a few more carefully chosen words on his two favorite subjects, women in general and Marilyn Monroe in particular.
•THE RAT ON FIRE, by George V. Higgins. Arsonists at work in the Boston underworld kindle Higgins' latest understated crime fiction.
•THE SHOCK OF THE NEW, by Robert Hughes. A whole century of chaotic modern art is whipped into sensible context by the critic who did the TV series of the same name; the book is better.
•YOUR CHEATIN' HEART, by Chet Flippo. The biography of country music great Hank Williams reveals that his life was no Louisiana hayride.