A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH by Danilo Kis

A TOMB FOR BORIS DAVIDOVICH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Called ""seven chapters of a single story""--the traducement, the betrayal, the deaths (there is always more than one) of the modern revolutionary--Yugoslavian writer Kis' book is a collection of sleek, semi-biographical stories that, like microscope slides, slice from large events (the Russian and Spanish civil wars, a French premier's visit to Fifties Russia, the Gulag Archipelago) one squirming sliver. The scenes of Soviet manipulation are vivid. Interrogations take place under the framed portrait of ""the One Who Must Be Believed,"" and one prisoner who refuses to confess is confronted by a young man whom the interrogators say will be shot on the spot if the prisoner doesn't hurry up and sing; he hesitates, the youth's brains are blown out. In the Gulag, gambling is reduced to horrifying elementaries--lice: ""The person to whom the louse crawled had the unpleasant duty of cutting the throat of whomever the winner marked as the victim."" Kis details this systematically remote-control murder as a symptom of modern revolution; his polished style tends to make emblems of the horrors, somewhat diluting the raw force, but much here is cast-iron and memorable.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1978
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich