With only two stories each from The Atlant and The New Yorker, the rest of the stories in this year's annual appeared originally in little magazines and reviews, and only of the to contributors are names which have already been recognized. Few will quarrel with the generally-high literary level of the collection as a whole; more to be questioned is the editor's introduction which concentrates on the three prize winners and imputes political implications perhaps not ""conceived"" by the authors as overt. In the case of Katherine Anne Parter's the first prize, with its reticent, personal inflection of life and death, this seems to be twisting the tall that wags the dog. The second prize, Thomas the is a turn of the century story of single combat in a world where the rules are changing; the third, a love story of Usage in Leningrad by Tom Cole is certainly the strongest in its political intimations. There's O'Hara's The Girl from which some thought the best in his recent collection; John Updike's strong story of racial which dims Shirley Ann Grau's Eight O'Clock One Morning in the south; Mary touching the People With The Charm, and many others to complete a collection which has considerable variety and distinction.