Books: Fertile Void

THE EMPIRE CITY (618 pp.)—Paul Goodman—Bobbs-Merrill ($6.95).

Little Horatio has figured it out. When the teacher registers him for the first day of school, he waits until she is not looking, steals the card, and scrams. "If you catch them at the neat minute," he explains, "there is no record in the whole world!" For about 20 years, no one gets Horatio's number (his full name, by no coincidence, is Horatio Alger), and he prowls Manhattan a free man, without diploma, social security, draft or credit card, without compensation for employment or unemployment, without...

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