SHORT REVIEWS

by Eugene Ionesco. Viking, $6.95. The well-known playwright’s first novel concerns an intelligent but indolent fellow who inherits some money and promptly quits his dull job to spend the rest of his life drinking and observing the world. What he observes is bewildering or frightening or both, for Mr. Ionesco has contrived to surround his hero with a miniature version of all the outrages of the century. One is never quite sure how much of the action is real and how much is a mild case of dt’s; presumably, one of Mr. Ionesco’s points is that the two have become, in our lime, largely indistinguishable. Translated by Richard Seaver.