Short story writers seldom cash in on the big-money audiences; only the collected Cheever or Welty seem to offer enough pounds of pleasure. Too bad. Because Cynthia Ozick prefers the story and the novella, forms that allow for a perfection of tone and incident, a moving stillness, that the novel rarely achieves. These new "fictions" range from stories of Jewish writers on Central Park West to the science fictiony avant-garde; all are written with a chemist's care for the exactly weighted detail. The novella, "Puttermesser and Xanthippe" follows the adventures of a middle-aged woman lawyer who inadvertently creates a female golem, with whose help she becomes the mayor of a paradisical New York. (Book World, February 28)

THE TRUANTS: Adventures Among the Intellectuals, by William Barrett. Partisan Review was undoubtedly the most influential "little magazine" of the past 40 years; anyone with literary, intellectual or leftist political aspirations dreamt of appearing in its pages--along side Philip Rahv, Edmund Wilson, Lionel Trilling, Delmore Schwartz, Mary McCarthy, Dwight Macdonald, Harold Rosenberg, William Phillips, and other luminaries nearly as luminous. This memoir, by one who was of the gang but not entirely with it, zings with anecdotes, gossip, and loving appreciation; for most readers Barrett's current conservatism will seem a patriotic chore, something to put up with for glimpses of the good old radical days. (Book World, February 28)

BEYOND THE PALE and Other Stories, by William Trevor. Flash and filigree tend to make writers noticed these days; quiet, controlled prose, carefully marshalled effects, a subtle understanding of human nature--these understated virtues tend to be undervalued. But for those who appreciate them they are to be found in abundance in the work of William Trevor. In the short stories here, as in Angels at the Ritz and Lovers of Their Time, he writes of personal relations that mirror political conflicts, of the unexpected revelations and epiphanies in the life of ordinary people, of the smug and self-righteous deservedly undone. His stories fit no particular mold, though they recall those of V.S. Pritchett, and merit more widespread reading in this country. (Book World, February 21)