Fall 1966 • Vol. XXVIII No. 4 Book ReviewsSeptember 1, 1966 |

Shorter Reviews: Alley Jaggers

Alley Jaggers by Paul West. Harper and Row, $4.95. Dark comedy has not yet gained an important hold on the British novel, and one feels that it will not so long as the social situation in England offers such abundant material for light comedy. It is only when a people no longer know what they are alienated from that dark comedy becomes really possible, for the comic element grows out of the nightmare of seemingly causeless dissociation, the sense so powerfully felt in this country of being absurdly out of touch with a world too absurd to be touched. But the English are still very much aware of the realities which they find unreal. The existing order is still solid enough and rational enough to support and justify their indignation. In fact, ever since the emergence of the Angry Young Men they have been engaged in making a literary status quo, a kind of Establishment conformism, out of their revolt against the Establishment, and their new drama already shows symptoms of the debase

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