There's Something in the Back Yard By Richard Snodgrass Viking, 333 pages, $18.95
George Binns, an English professor and writer, is the unlikely protagonist. He's fiftyish, tall and fat, and isn't very good at either teaching or writing. His waspish wife, Mary Olive, isn't very good at being a wife.They left the New York world of publishing to move to Flagstaff, Ariz., where George tries to write and Mary Olive nags. George's escape from this is either through his writing or through adultery. He is better at adultery.
That something turns out to be Aholi, a Hopi Indian kachina, or spirit. The kachina is a benign masked presence that seems to be poking around George's property in search of something. Instead of being frightened by the kachina, George is intrigued. His wife is hysterical.