The trouble with the fiction of Charles Webb is (and there are those who worry about Mr. Webb, who, after all, was selling shoes after his miniscule royalties from The Graduate while Joseph Levine was realizing a fortune) -- that his dialogue is essentially comic, although his intent is solemn, and the two never seem to meet in ironic harmony. Take this exchange between widowed, sixtyish Mrs. Fellows (Robinson) and twentyish, divorced and unemployed Kenneth (Benjamin) who is about to leave after refusing Mrs. Fellows' offer of financial ease if he would be her ""compardon"": ""I bid you adieu, Mrs. Fellows.""/ ""Put down your bag.""/ ""Adieu.""/ ""Just do that little thing for me.""/ ""Put down my bag?""/ ""How much trouble would that be for you?""/ ""No trouble.""/ ""Thank you.""/ ""But I'm leaving."" etc. He doesn't, of course, and at the close, he has been thwarted in his efforts to realize ""brotherly love"" with a black Watts family he invites to live in Mrs. Fellows' house; he has been unable to make it in bed with black Ruthann who learned from Kenneth how to emerge from her shell; he has decided that neither he nor Mrs. Fellows has a philosophy or ""knows what to do in life"" -- and shoots her and himself. Here is Benjamin again -- decent, lost, trying somehow to ""get in touch."" Perhaps Webb should attempt moving him into that open, free, comic novel which always seems to lie ahead.