Books: Theft as Therapy

HECK by Morris Renek. 278 pages. Harper's Magazine Press. $6.50.

Morris Renek is one of those rare novelists with the ability to take overly familiar scenes of city life and infuse them with fresh vitality. In The Big Hello, he explored with remarkable humor a middle-aged Jew's bumbling attempt at divorce. In Siam Miami, the passionate subject was a stardom-bound girl singer's fight against the sleazy power brokers of pop music. In his third novel, Renek tackles with gusto yet another conventional modern situation—a young man's rage against life in the ghetto. This one happens to be the old-fashioned Jewish ghetto, not...

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