Books: Short Notices: Oct. 27, 1967

A BAD MAN by Stanley Elkin. 336 pages. Random House. $4.95.

This is the work of a first-rate pyrotechnician with nothing to celebrate. Author Elkin's un-hero is Leo Feldman, who turns the basement of his department store into a wish factory, where his customers can get a fix, or a whore, or a gun, or an orgy. "There's a king's ransom," he explains, "in other people's dreams." So far, so good, in a black-humored sort of way. But then Feldman is sent to a Kafkaesque penitentiary, where he is robbed, brutalized, humiliated. He makes no protest —he is a "felled man." Not...

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