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This is a collection of thirteen short stories which tends to point out in various ways that illusions are a necessary part of life. At any rate, many of the characters in these stories stand or fall on the strength of their self-deception. A manual arts teacher, openly pining for his estranged wife, perversely encourages the taunts of his students, thus maintaining the fiction that she is still within his reach; the aging ""housekeeper"" for an irascible old man, having discovered his nest egg, imagines she is now free of his domination; and the title story presents a cynical young doctor loath to admit he is marrying for anything but money. One of the best stories, The Girl Who Was Naturally Not Perfect, involves an innocent boy who is assumed to be the father of an idiot girl's baby while actually he is infatuated with her sister. Some of the stories are exceedingly brief but regardless of length, there is a tone throughout of impending, if not actual, unpleasantness. Horror is not so much realized as implied and the result is disturbing. The stories are skillful although the audience for this genre is, as always, difficult to isolate.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 1963
Publisher: Scribners