Books: Landlady & Boarder

HAWK AMONG THE SPARROWS—Desmond Hawkins—Knopf ($2.50).

Theme of this gracefully padded first novel: intellectuals are hawks, plain citizens are sparrows. Intellectual Kipter, a bearded, philosophical, moulting bird, goes to board in a nest of lower-middle-class sparrows: a voluptuous ex-chorus girl and her 17-year-old niece. Fascinated, the female sparrows twitter around his bedroom, while Kipter pays them cautious compliments. Blamed for fouling the nest when he merely pushes the landlady out to protect his virtue, the hawk makes a back-window exit just in time to save his tail feathers. Hawk Among the Sparrows is less a warning to high-flying intellectuals than a...

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