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Mr. Boynton's second novel (Games in the Darkening Air, 1966) is many things--diffuse, moldering, obscene (if anything is obscene), predatory, littered with memories and lashed with primal guilts, presenting a view of life in which innocence and evil are just reversible images of humanity. The eavesdropper, one Surrey Warlock Barr, when first met is fat, fifty, shifty, turning over to two friends his book (this book) which he had once appropriately entitled ""Labyrinthine Halls."" It's full of the ghosts ""that creeps aroun' in a body's mind"" some of whom will be laid to rest here; particularly Cy, an early friend, whose nineteen years' attachment to the regal, hostile, proprietary Ell, Surrey had attempted to move in on. And the Prophet, ""old Daddy,"" who brings his (?) young girl Vita into Surrey's life. Vita marries Surrey and fathers his eleven children. During the next years, Cy, now blind and abandoned by Ell, comes back--to kill the Prophet, to kill the pursuing Ell, and finally to be disposed of himself in the anonymous graveyard of this book. . . Mr. Boynton's novel of the voyeur-eavesdropper--any man, everyman--and his covert, symbiotic relationships, has long stretches of powerful writing. However one resists the encroachment, it is pervasive.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 1969
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World