In “Treacle Walker,” a spare novel written by a British novelist I’ve heard of but never read before, a youth with one bad eye lives, apparently alone, in a sparse house, spending his days musing and wandering. A wandering trader, he of the Treacle Walker title, appears one day and they exchange goods. Another strange creature lives in the water. Joseph’s adventures involve fireplaces, depths, walks, strange objects … you get the picture that Treacle Walker is a very English-style fairy story with no rhyme or reason, possibly jammed with resonant mythical objects and occurrences, but all of it beyond me (and I possess a large capacity for wonder and ambiguity). The one feature of this novella-length book that I did find gratifying was the combative, angular dialogue between the trader and the boy, even if the boy very often sounds very adult-like. All in all, I found myself rapidly bamboozled and then soldiered on, awaiting elucidation that never came.