Books: Of Cabbages & Cops

THE DREAMS OF REASON by Xavier Domingo. 148 pages. Braziller. $5.

There is a difference between a nightmare and a "nightmare"—the cliche that can be applied to anything from a rescue out of an abandoned mine shaft to unusually bad traffic conditions.

A real nightmare puzzles, enervates or scares the victim, and it is a rash man who tries to tell about it.

Xavier Domingo, a 36-year-old Spaniard who works as a literary journalist in Paris, has chosen to write about a civic "nightmare"—the 1961 police action against the sub-proletariat of Algerians living in the squalid city outskirts—in terms of a real nightmare.

Afro-Islamic Harlems....