Max Apple: Free Agents; Harper & Row; New York.
Picture a man. About fivc eight-and-a-half in height, wire rimmed glasses, curly hair, salt-and-pepper beard, blue brushed-cotton shirt, loose navy tie, khaki pants, and Top Siders. Picture him in two dimensions–as if he is a life-sized cartoon, like a Lichtenstein. Once the image is fixed, imagine it being torn vertically into two roughly equal pieces, with the appropriate onomatopoeic “r-r-r-i-i-i-i-p-p-p!” This is Max Apple. As is evident in this collection of prose pieces (some are obviously fiction; others,well, only his hair-dresser–or agent–knows for sure), Apple is a man who cherishes tradition on the one hand and who is using his other hand to push ahead trendy, liberal concepts and lifestyles. This tension produces ragged thinking in polished prose.