Books: Cool, Coo! World

THE SAME DOOR [241 pp.)—John Updike—Knopf ($3.75).

Short-Storyteller and Novelist (The Poor house Fair) John Updike likes to give his characters barium breakfasts. As they swallow life's little ironies or surprises, he puts his literary X-ray machine to work photographing the newly revealed conformations and deformations of man. In this collection of 16 short stories, Author Updike's plots vary—they may turn on a boy's whistle, a bachelor girl's bed, a bottle of wine—but the personality changes that result share the kinship of human nature well-observed.

In Tomorrow and Tomorrow and So Forth, a male high-school teacher is drawn into an unconscious rivalry with...