John Anthony West is capable of an occasional bit of satiric demolition. He is a man who knows the obscenities of Employment Agencies, the stupidity of summer camp, and Mount Kisco in August. His ten short stories, however, are rather limited in scope by the graceless bitchiness of their sophomoric centrepieces. They have neither stature, nobility, nor freshness. If they reign supreme or stand one head higher, it is because West pits them against gnomes, inevitable authority figures: mothers, fathers, older brothers, dominating ""in"" groups. In one of the stories, an artist dies penniless because he refuses to go representational; in another, a sensitive summer camper refuses to bay at the moon of wear a pupy biscuit round his neck; in the funniest, Newton Arkin turns down one fragmenting job after another until he gives up, registers for the most recondite courses offered by the English Department, and wonders how to tell his father. This is an inevitable literary stage, seldom yielding satisfying three dimensional characters or satisfying forms.