Books: The Powers That Haunt

ASYLUM PIECE (312 pp.)—Anna Kavan —Doubleday ($2.50).

. . . The most intimate friends work against each other, man and wife deceive each other . . , the spirit becomes bestial . . . snakes crawl through the town . . . horses and cattle begin to talk. . . .

This description by a Chinese philosopher of the 3rd Century B.C. serves as a prelude to one of the 34 grim studies in contemporary psychosis (that make up Anna Kavan's Asylum Piece. Despite lushness of metaphor and over-ornamentation of style, it is skillful fiction by...

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