Books: Minor Masterpiece

A VOICE THROUGH A CLOUD by Denton Welch. 254 pages. University of Texas. $3.75.

Literature was conscious of no loss when Britain's Denton Welch died in 1948 at the age of 33. A gaunt, gifted art student, he had been invalided at 20 when a motorist crashed into his bicycle, fracturing his spine. Often unable to paint, scarcely able to walk, he took up his pen and wrote two books of stories, two fictionalized autobiographies of boyhood, a lengthy journal and this brilliant, terrible novel. Published in England in 1950, it received scant attention;...