Books: Peons' Purgatory

FIESTA IN MANHATTAN—Charles Kaufman—Morrow ($2.50).

At 110th Street, Manhattan's sveltly starched Fifth Avenue passes the extreme northeast tip of Central Park, plunges into a new world—the teeming, Spanish-speaking slums, or barrio, of Lower Harlem. Mainly inhabited by Puerto Ricans, with a peppering of Cubans, Spaniards, Filipinos, Mexicans, it is one of the poorest, noisiest, brightest, muskiest, most musical and least written-about foreign quarters in Manhattan.

Set in this neglected locale, Fiesta In Manhattan is the first novel of a 34-year-old New Jerseyite, who discovered Lower Harlem's barrio by way of Mexico, where he spent a year as the happy alternative to going into...

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