Books: Subway Syndrome

THE CASE HISTORY OF COMRADE V. by JAMES PARK SLOAN 148 pages. Houghton Mifflin. $4.95.

In the middle of his brilliant and enigmatic second novel, James Park Sloan invents the "subway syndrome." Its victims are those overeducated drunks encountered in the subways late at night, frantically spitting out manic monologues at the tile walls. Ex-lawyers, ex-teachers, even ex-psychiatrists (who knows?), these gray-stubbled ruins with burning eyes represent, Sloan suggests, "the human psyche driven underground ... by a sense of helplessness in the face of an overwhelming body of human knowledge, subtly divided and...

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