Books: The Rag Shop of the Heart

JUBB by Keith Waterhouse. 245 pages. Putnam. $3.95.

Literally, Jubb is a voyeur, a fetishist and pyromaniac. By all odds, his doings should add up to nothing more than one more nasty little British shocker—unoriginal as sin, boring as politics and derivative as all get-out. Instead, it is a remarkably good book. Through some weird alchemy of talent and restraint, Novelist Waterhouse has transformed an outrageously raw case history into a recognizably human portrait.

Jubb is horribly shy. He keeps a stiff upper lip about his strange afflictions, even when his grimy world is coming apart. He has traditional British hobbies—serving on a...

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