Books: Children of Violence

THE HIGHER ANIMALS by H.E.F. Donahue. 273 pages. Viking. $4.95.

Every university, but especially a big-city one encysted in slums like Columbia or Chicago, has its strays: the ex-students, would-be writers, nostalgic journalists, misplaced faculty wives and outright intellectual bums who huddle up to the academic fire for warmth without fully belonging there. They clerk in the bookstores, talk the night away in the coffee shops, provide the steady custom for the bars.

On a warm summer night on Chicago's South Side, half a dozen such strays congregate at Lou's Bar near the...

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