Books: The Reeves and The Grotches

THE THURBER CARNIVAL—James Thurber—Harper ($2.75).

Since his birth in Columbus, Ohio on "a night of wild portent and high wind in 1894," James Thurber has seemed to live in a world where the edges of reality are fuzzy, the edges of fantasy insanely sharp. The principal forces at work in this world are confusion, frustration, madness and doom, the final crack of which all Thurber characters seem constantly —and justifiably—to be expecting.

The focal character of most Thurber-prose and drawings is a reticent, befuddled, thwarted little man who tries sadly to preserve himself and...

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