A superb piece of writing -- a racking book to experience, and this in spite of the fact that the author attempts to keep his emotional values muted and his characterizations symbolic. The record of Ravic becomes the record of today's Man without a Country. His need is not for that country, but for the chance to be a whole man -- not a surgeon in hiding, ghosting for opportunists, acting as house physician for a bordello, hiding without possessions -- without papers, and burdened with the past which he cannot throw off until he has had his revenge on von Haake, Gestapo man, whom he seeks endlessly among Paris missions. Into this rootless life comes Joan Madou, a bit of Europe's flotsam, whose need for emotional outlet makes her ever grasping for love, and grasping again. Joan wants to hold Ravic -- Ravic cannot give her what she demands-and tries to break that hold --in vain. At the end, both lose -- she is killed by a lover, and he -- having fulfilled his goal of revenge -- is facing concentration camp again -- this time a French one. In the course of this story, one sees one whole segment of a sick world -- a cross section of that decadent Paris in which little people and big could hide -- and love and live and die. A superb book, unpalatable for many -- but a book that is more significant than any he has done since All Quiet on the Western Front.