Books: Main Street Reviscerated

MR. BRIDGE by Evan S. Connell Jr. 369 pages. Knopf. $5.95.

Like some sunken Atlantis, a Middle West lurks in the collective unconscious of many Americans. In that Middle West the year is still 1930-something, the lawns are broad and sleek, locusts whine in the elms on summer afternoons. There are vacant lots suitable for baseball. Prosperous businessmen eat lunch together every day at the hotel grill, and their wives have card parties with small prizes—a vocabulary-building book or a piece of bone china. There are, of course, bad neighborhoods, some colored, some criminal; people with alien names; poor people (mostly lazy);...

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