Books: Ohio Nights

THE NEPHEW (210 pp.)—James Purdy —Farrar, S+raus & Cudahy ($3.95).

This impressive new novel begins as a Midwestern idyl set on a leafy, residential street in Rainbow Center, Ohio. A widow er of 78. Realtor Boyd Mason comes home to the wide-lawned Victorian house he shares with his sister Alma, a spinsterish ex-schoolteacher. Each day is an agreeable carbon of the one before. Boyd grumbles contentedly about Alma's bluntness, stinginess and love of gossip. Alma gets comfortably cross at Boyd's deafness, his lack of interest in scandal, his irritating habit of forgetting to flush...

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