Books: Fable from Martinique

Ti-Covo AND His SHARK (235 pp.)—Clemenf Richer—Knopf ($3).

Ti-Coyo owes this world few debts: his mulatto father is a lame hunchback, his Hindu-Chinese mother "a female monster with a squint." The family, which lives in the Martinique port of St. Pierre, is forever poor, and to buy the canoe he desperately wants, Ti-Coyo dives for coins whenever the liners pull in. But the competition is terrific; dozens of strapping Negro divers leave only small change for little fellows like Ti-Coyo. How, wonders the boy, can he liquidate his competition?

Ti-Coyo's shockingly unethical solution is the core of Clement Richer's novel, which the book...

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