Books: Drops from a Rusty Spigot

ACTIONS AND REACTIONS (280 pp.)—Doubleday ($3).

A good way to read Actions and Reactions, a book of short stories published last week, is to begin without looking to see who wrote them. That way, most readers should have many pleasures of discovery, and be spared some disappointments of high expectation. It's a lively little book, but the author has long since accustomed his readers to something much better than lively.

Right in the first sentence of the first story, An Habitation Enforced, a leggy prose takes the reader in stride: "It came without warning, at the very hour his hand was outstretched to...

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