Books: Green Flies

SIXTY STORIES by Donald Barthelme 457 pages; Putnam; $15.95

Donald Barthelme must be high on anyone's list of great unread New Yorker writers, and this retrospective shows why. Open it at any point and there the author is, fluting a different tune but charming the same old snake. How strange life is, say his mannered little perplexities. How strangely strange. How oddly unfathomable. Can't make head or tail of it. Weird.

There is no arguing about this message, or about Barthelme's delivery. After all these years of rehearsal, he ought to have his act...

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