The last tale in this 20-story collection--about dwarfed, humpbacked Rosen, a seedy detective-manquÃ‰ of phenomena, politics, mysteries--almost anthologizes Jaffe's grindingly reiterated concerns: Indians, funky sex, social anarchy, ethnological barriers. And in the 19 stories that precede it those concerns appear one or two at a time, with Jaffe (Mole's Pity) nearly always relying upon ironic juxtaposition as his narrative technique. The exceptions: ""Plattsburgh,"" about the suicide of an upstate New York woman who had earlier rescued an injured, terrified, but violently ungrateful owl; and ""The Artificial Son,"" in which a young Brooklyn Hasid gets lost in a primitive landscape. And these two pieces have a throb of mysteriousness to them that allows you to ignore their brevity and lack of development. But everywhere else, whether he's writing about Times Square sex parlors, mutual voyeurism, bag ladies, murders, or prison executions, Jaffe always formulizes--usually with the disgusting mechanically counterbalanced against the dignifiedly extinct (e.g., Indians). So, in all: a jumble of stiff, pseudo-myths, repetitiously harping on a few themes and a single literary device.