Books: The Sting

MCKAY'S BEES

by Thomas McMahon

Harper & Row; 198 pages; $8.95

The German settlers McKay takes with him to the Kansas Territory make music boxes that play Old Dog Tray. The young wife McKay takes with him suffers from underwork, a cold heart and a galloping case of pre-feminism. She also dislikes the residents of her husband's hives. Catherine "knew that the bees were women. They were dignified, dangerous, purposeful women . . . Their lives were all work, all women's work—housekeeping and foraging. They spent their lives in domestic boredom."

McKay himself is a rich Bostonian of refined sensibility, great kindness and few...

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