A compendium of fiction and non-fiction by a humorist sui generis: ironist, satirist, realist, burlesque comic-yes, all from the same author, this Robert Levin who gleefully fingers the absurdities of life with trenchant wit and daunting intelligence. His voices are many and varied and ultimately balanced: the cynicism of "Everything's All Right In the Middle East" leavened by the belly laughs of "Peggie," the raw sensibility of "Spinning the Wheel of the Quivering Meat Conception" lightened by the surprising sweetness of the title story. Scathing examinations of self-destructiveness give way to redemption (of sorts) in "Dog Days." Finally, there is the sadder but wiser "Free Jazz," illuminating the '60s with piercing intellect and hardly a guffaw to be found. And so a writer, perfectly willing to offend if that's what it takes to be funny and make his point, turns out to please in a myriad of ways. A collection to laugh with and wonder at.