DEVICES AND DESIRES by E. Arnot Robertson


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Here is an author who never repeats. Her books cannot be pigeonholed. But in this, though it is wholly original, there is at least a recognition of some of the elements that went into the incomparable Four Frightened People. Again it is a tale of people, thrown together by chance, and forced into unwelcome intimacy in a perilous journey. This time, however, the group consists of refugees, without papers, without resources, with only one common aim, to reach Salonika, in Greece, and there- through underground contacts- find ships to take them to their chosen destinations. And then-in Bulgaria, still in 1946 plagued by border wars, their guide is killed- and they are left to the guidance of his strange girl child, an undernourished thirteen, with one great desire -- safety with respectability, known only briefly in England in ""the Good Place"". And with one hope, to meet again Andre, whom she'd helped in Jamaica- and who, too, dreamed of a safe mediocrity. But before that goal was dimly within reach, Hebe had experienced incredible hardships, dared impossible adventures, crossed the border with her little band, escaped a massacre of bandits in Macedonia, won a few fleeting moments of assistance,- the Quakers in Edhessa,- chance met Nick's anxious parents, in Athens, and through Nick's father, the opportunity to get back to England, to school, to safety. It is a strange tale of Europe's flotsam, of political refugees seeking sanctuary, of the tiny light of respectability as a goal in a life of violence among lawless people. Fascinating, often grim, occasionally flashed with comedy-an unusual book.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1954
Publisher: Macmillan