Books: Candide Keaton

BALLOONS ARE AVAILABLE by Jordan Critfenden. 180 pages. Afheneum. $4.50.

The only cumbrous thing about this novel is the title, borrowed from some lines by W. H. Auden. Otherwise, Balloons Are Available is lighter than air and easily dirigible toward its comic purpose. The hero, who progresses from repairman to executive vice president, is named Howard Ormsby. Part Candide, part Buster Keaton, he is loosed in a land where every pratfall is followed by a commercial. Author Crittenden's best effects are gained through a sort of contrapuntal dialogue. One of Howard's loves tells him the story of her life, including the...

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