This slim collection is the second Lind book written in English; and though the quasi-Biblical parables here are mere trifles for the most part, their language is increasingly graceful, mordant, and entertaining. A sort of theological irony (""pre-messianic,"" Lind dubs it in an authorial note) suffuses all these pieces, a quality that is especially evident in ""The Beauty of a Plastic Showcase""--in which the sons of Noah take on a hapless search for wisdom. (""In the city his fellowmen had not changed essentially, but something else had. His own sense of proportion. After seven or eight years in the desert, he now believed himself to know nothing and to have seen no more and possibly less than others. His enlightened friends were not surprised to find him talking to God one evening."") And, though contemporary in setting, the opening piece is no less wry: ""The Store"" is a witty game of philosophical ping-pong in the letters between two cousins--as the writer-cousin urges the plastic-surgeon-cousin to invest in a marketing scheme to sell Dutch stoves. . . and thus begins a whole examination of need, desire, will, even rime itself. Lind may not be the most original of writers, but he is consistently and humorously stylish, engagingly oblique; and this is a charming book of slight Ã‰tudes, with two appealing stand-outs.