THE WAX BOOM by George Mandel


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A troop of American soldiers are sent to wipe out a strongly held German town in December of 1944. Too long at the front and subject to an egregious status leadership, the men of ""A"" troop are driven to mass, purposive suicide as they personalize the enemy and pervert the ends. It is their own officers whom they grow to hate instead of the Germans. The amassment of wax to fend off the night -- which ""personified the enormous enemy phantom, and made a blunt reality of war"" -- becomes their mission. And so obsessive their need for light that they enter a Church and smash a Christ statue in order to get to its innards -- the light and life giving wax. When they accept this act, not as a rational and quite basic stripping away for sustenance, but as a symbolic manifestation of the contagion of evil -- it is then that their pervasive guilt marks them for self-destruction...The Wax Boom is not an easy novel to read. It is filled with allusion, ambiguous symbol, and protean prose. But well-worth the difficulties is this tremendously powerful exploration of the mind's reaction to ""pure misery"" and the peculiar hypersensitivity to disguise, to hypocrisy, to evil which the mind develops when steeped in muck.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1962
Publisher: Random House