An English first novel takes its whips to British policy, liberal and reactionary, in foreign lands -- here oil production...

READ REVIEW

TRIAL BY FIRE

An English first novel takes its whips to British policy, liberal and reactionary, in foreign lands -- here oil production in the desert medievally ruled by a Sheikh aware of the conflicts of transition and of the clashes between commerce and government. British adviser to the Sheikh is Leslie Grant who terms his liberalism vague and squeamish; William Wolfers, general manager for the English oil company, advocates force, strength and roughshod treatment for his Arab employees; Elizabeth, Grant's wife, makes the triangle when Wolfers' sexual approaches terrify, excite and seduce her; Jassim, son of the Qadhi, adds a fourth angle, as the intelligent native, a source of hope to Grant and a flogging boy irritant to Wolfers. A strike based on grievances over the observance of Ramadan, Wolfers' conquest of Elizabeth reflecting on Grant, and the death of Jassim in the blow out of rig #14, climax in the subjugation of the resulting fire, in the ambivalent results to Grant and Wolfers in the investigation that comes after. In the ""sad little sum of frustration"", in the balance between the known of the English and the unknown of the Arab, this maintains a competent, flexible hold on its people, plot and background.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1957

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1957