This two-volume boxed edition of stories and fantasies by the young, alented New Zealander (Faces in the Water- 1961; The Edge of the Alphabet- 1963) is expectedly disturbing. Many of these sketches are very brief; some have reference to ter ""real"" life; most are carefully designed within a framework. They deal chiefly, owever, with what underlies appearances and are written from an overpowering flow of internal vision and private language. They present a fairly staggering glimpse into a mind ceaselessly churning over its terrible predicament of life, thought, self and often death. The real people are seen as stained and shadowy, crossed in childhood by objects and vague inheritances of defeat, and later- as adults- (particularly in two stories about a painter and a poet) defeated in themselves. Among the fanasies is a tale of a man who cuts off his body to free his mind; his helpless brain s finally eaten by mice. In the last long story, a snowman, who believes himself immortal, listens incredulously to a brilliant, shock-filled, disjointed insight into generally suppressed aspects of the human condition... The price here for a collection which is ample, but conventional in length, may be a deterrent.