A collection of twenty odd short stories which reveal some new facets of Farrell's genius for characterization. For it is as characterization- rather than plot- that most of these stories are memorable. That and an ability to cut under the facade of conventional impression to the mood, the psychological import, the compulsion below. There is at times a kind of brittle cynicism; then, in sharp contrast, a compassionate understanding. The ""Party"" comes in for a good many disillusioning and ironical attacks, but these semi-political, semi-social aspects are more than counterbalanced by the human interest pieces. Racial hatred supplies an end twist to a bitter story, The Fastest Runner on Sixty First Street. The Girls at the Sph and A Coincidence give two sides of the picture of de there's implicit commentary on the falsity of certain American standards, whether in sports, in advertising, in Hollywood; there's plenty of illicit passion, but it doesn't come off very well. The title story is one of the most tragic pieces, in its portrait of a model who dared not deviate from what she had been told at the Charm School was her role in American life. There's some very good writing- and considerable unevenness both in style and matter. But it is important as a facet of Farrell.