Books: The Poor Devil

LET IT COME DOWN (311 pp.)—Paul Bowles—Random House ($3.50).

Nelson Dyar, American, was "not at all distinguished in appearance. He did not look like an actor or a statesman or an artist, nor yet like a workman, a businessman or an athlete." Moreover, when the Marquesa de Valverde peered into his palm, she could see "no sign of anything ... an empty hand."

Out of Nelson's empty hand, nonetheless, Novelist Paul (The Sheltering Sky) Bowles has tried to create a modern hero. Dyar is not a man, he is a vacuum. His only deep desire is to fill his own emptiness. He...

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