These students, mainly in their mid-twenties, have turned out a first-rate lutch of straightforward stories that avoid introspection, ""sensitive"" writing or any grand mannerisms. No single story is outrageously good, and several are carbons of Hemingway and Faulkner (Wolfe, Fitzgerald and O'Hara are not in this year). Most original is a tender, cynical, side-of-the-mouth tale, Visions of Ulysses S. Grant, during which a bald, moronic, Jewish hospital attendant, 33, courts a goyim strip-easer, 35, wins her hand, then loses her to a rich furrier, a widower. He attempts suicide and awakes in the hospital, where his mother tells him, ""Believe me, it's better. She was not a good girl for you, Maury."" That the reader cares enough to consider whether the stripper was good enough for Maury is a measure of the story's accomplishment. The fine title story, The Stone Soldier, has Faulkner's thumb smudges on every paragraph; just after the Civil War, a fat, greedy, Snopesish salesman comes the small Alabama town of Hammond to sell a memorial statue for the town square to old Confederate major who lost his mind at the battle of Chancellorsville. The subject today is Negroes, and nearly half of the stories concern themselves in one way or another with race. A something has happened to curb fantasy: only one of the seventeen stories, Lecture on Clay, is a literal look at the impossible.