Books: To Nowhere & Back

THE RAILWAY POLICE AND THE LAST TROLLEY RIDE by Hortense Calisher. 248 pages. Little, Brown. $5.

Hortense Calisher has a tidy and fervently loyal coterie whose members read everything she writes and pretend to understand it. They are courageous people, since understanding Hortense Calisher has to be an act of faith.

These two novellas illustrate how evanescent a Calisher point can be when it is pursued to its core. On the New York-to-Boston train, in The Railway Police, is a woman social worker who wears wigs to hide a hereditary baldness. Seeing a ticketless passenger led away by the railway cops, the social...

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