Malevolence in a Coffeepot

CARNIVAL BY THE SEA (327 pp. Si grid de Lima—Scribner ($3.50).

Ever since storytelling began, the mean old stepmother has played the heavy; nowadays, stepmother has to have a batch of certifiable complexes.

In Carnival by the Sea, the heavy is Mrs. Albany, an aging invalid whose home, an abandoned coffee shop shaped like a huge coffeepot, stands on the barren dunes of the California coast. In two days' action, well padded with flashbacks, Mrs. Albany racks up a high score in pure malevolence. Among other things, she drives her stepson to alcoholism and her stepdaughter to an early death. She also...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


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

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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