Books: Ugly Moments

HELLBOX (210 pp.)—John O'Hara— Random House ($2.50).

A hellbox, as the publishers helpfully note on the jacket, is the place where printers throw broken type. These 26 stories by John O'Hara (an Old Newspaperman himself) have the neat and durable ring of O'Hara's best writing. They also have O'Hara's special effect of making the reader feel he has bitten something brassy. To O'Hara's hopeful admirers the stories may look like 26 more notes for the novel they think he ought to write—and, from that point of view, wasted sticks of type.

The book is a hellbox in a wider sense: about two-thirds of...

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