THE TWENTY-FIFTH HOUR by Constant-Virgil Gheorghiu


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A horror tale, some of which is culled from ten years of war, humanity and inhumanity, a widely spaced novel of doom, destruction and harrowing experience, interspersed with the conception of the 25th hour after the world's end. There is no more oxygen; humanity has turned to machine; the individual is extinct. Such a time is equal to the frustration due to bureaucy many times magnified -- to the nightmares of a Koestler-the injustices of a Kafka. The central character is one Johann Moritz, Romanian, who plans in his 25th year to go to America- but never gets there. Instead he marries Susanna, is given money to set up a farm, then is suddenly ordered to a Jewish labor camp to dig a canal. One concentration camp follows another in a series of treks and tortures. Father Koruga, spokesman for Christ and Christianity, whose son had financed Johann's farm, is briefly reunited with his son and Johann, then dies in a concentration camp. The son marries a Jewess who lives in terror of her race being discovered. She is witness to Johann's choice of return to prison after a few hours of freedom. Gheorghiu envisions a locked-up humanity, clamped down by machines of its own making. A serious often compelling work, full of drama and pity and philosophical tensions, but at times repetitious and overly dramatic.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1950
Publisher: Knopf