NIGHT by Francis Pollini


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This is the first fictional presentation of the material which Eugene Kinkead surveyed and analysed with such sharpecas in In Every War But One (Norton-1959) -- the experience of the American prisoners subjected to the ""brain washing"" of their Chinese inquisitors during the Korean war. Here, with a technique which may command reserved admiration but also imposes certain liabilities- notably incoherence- the experience of a group of soldiers is deliberately reflected through a drift of thoughts, images, memories, nightmares- often unidentified and unattached, and through their talk which is littered with obscenities. The characters involved are as basic as the idiom they use- and the book's central figure is a miner's son, Sgt. Marty Landi. He is subjected to the pressure of Phillips, one of the ""reactionaries"" (those who do not give in and are starved or frozen to death) but still more to that of the devil-priest Ching, with his litany-""Confess, Confess"", his propagandist tirades, and his interminable interrogations. Without any of the reflective challenge of Koestler's classic contest of wills, faiths, and ideologies, it is perhaps interesting as an actual documentation -- but it is disjointed and difficult to read.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1961
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin