Veteran novelist and poet Piercy marches a cast of dozens through well-trodden mire: the Greatest Horrors of WW II. In a...

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GONE TO SOLDIERS

Veteran novelist and poet Piercy marches a cast of dozens through well-trodden mire: the Greatest Horrors of WW II. In a large, loose-limbed narrative that careens around the globe, Piercy's people wade through various hells, and often find Good Sex to boot. There's Jacqueline, spoiled and clever oldest daughter in a family of Parisian Jews, whose mother and sister are deported while she's in the throes of postadolescent rebellion. She escapes to the South, where she's suddenly saintly, smuggling Jewish children to safety across the Pyrenees and finding True Love with an American intelligence officer, before she's caught and sent to Auschwitz. There's Murray, a well-intentioned kid from Detroit, who enlists in the Marines and witnesses a panorama of violent death at the battles of Tarawa, Saipan and Okinawa. There's big (eventually lesbian) Bernice, who lives to fly and finds the chance with the WASPs. There's precious Louise, a talented and tasteful writer who gets compelling copy following the Allied armies invading France, and who neatly whips her philandering husband into quasi-puppy-dog shape. There are many more, whose combat records and sex lives are splayed out over the war years. Piercy's prose is silky and readable, and the novel is littered with careful period detail and sterling feminist intentions. But there's an overload of atmosphere in this long outing, and it comes at the expense of characterization: these hardy troupers are types, not people, and their predictable emotions rarely run deep. In all, a too-generous dose of spoonfed history.

Pub Date: May 12, 1987

ISBN: 0449215571

Page Count: -

Publisher: Summit--Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1987