Hollis Hedges' first (7) novel is one of those extremely nice notions about a young man, Cletus Hayworth, first a teacher, then a social worker, with a potential legacy he's not quite certifiably stable enough to inherit. Or so they say, since Cletus spends a great deal of time fabricating. These are not lies; these are not distortions; they are just perhaps stories tall enough to cut the world down to size. There's for instance the helmet Cletus bought in a pawnshop for a dollar which he claims belonged to a rookie cop killed in action. Cletus wears it a lot of the time. He also takes home a five-year-old boy named Hank (well really his name is George) while trying to find his mother, Mary Kalinski--the victim of every kind of abuse including a stepfather who raped her at the age of ten. And then there's Kay with whom he falls in love--Kay who can't make up her mind, Kay who has a possessive loser as a friend, Kay who This is a gentle book for today's ruder realities--full of happier inventions including one of the most appealing young men who ever lived in left field.