Books: A Game of Marbles

DEBBY (304 pp.)—Max Steele—Harper ($3).

One of the juiciest plums a young writer can pluck is the $10,000 that Harper & Bros, gives away every two years to the winner of its novel contest. For 1950 the lucky man is a 27-year-old South Carolinian, Max Steele, whose Debby was chosen by a jury of knowing hands: Short Story Writer Katherine Anne Porter, Novelist Glenway Wescott, and San Francisco Chronicle Critic Joseph Henry Jackson. A few of the Harper prizewinners (Wescott's The Grandmothers and Paul Horgan's The Fault of Angels) were widely and deservedly cheered,...