Books: Three Levels of Mitty

THE CLOCKS OF COLUMBUS by CHARLES S. HOLMES 360 pages. Atheneum. $10.

A biographer of James Thurber is almost certain to put himself inexplicably in the wrong, because whatever approach he takes—jocular, solemn, literary, psychological—he is likely to provoke satirical muttering from Thurber's ghost. The tone of the present biography, an examination of Thurber's literary career by a Pomona College English professor, is clonking and scholarly, and sure enough, muttering seems distinctly audible.

The first footnut is squirreled away after the book's first sentence, and the 40th by page 14. But the book...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!