Books: Housemother Knows Best

Writers are passing strange, and those who herd together in writers' colonies are apt to be stranger still. Perhaps the strangest writers' colony on the North American continent is located in rolling corn-hog country on the outskirts of Marshall, Ill. (pop. 2,960) and looks rather like a struggling boys' camp, with two rows of barracks, a central cookhouse-cum-library and a pond swimming pool. Its founder and reigning queen is a bright-eyed, single-minded housemother of the literary arts named Lowney Handy.

Childless Mrs. Handy, who is 52 and a confessed "thwarted writer," dotes on...

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