DAVID KNUDSEN by George P. Elliott
Kirkus Star


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This second novel, which follows an excellent collection of short stories, is a painful and often powerful reconnaissance in reasoning rather than passionate terms. In time it becomes clear that it is an examination of non-commitment, the graievances on which it feeds, the sins to which it leads, as David Knudsen finds that his father, the Bomb, the Zeitgeist are only excuses for his own default. From his childhood and young manhood with a libertarian, professor-physicist father, David grows up to feel almost ""too free to want""; he spends a year in Europe; takes a dilettante interest in photography, is half in love with Carol whom he thinks of making or marrying, and eventually does both. The Korean war exposes him too closely to the hydrogen bomb and he is a casualty of radiation sickness, so that he returns filled with a bitterness toward ""Science and The State"", and of course toward his father who had worked at Los Alamos. Back home he attempts to find an answer in God and fails; Carol becomes pregnant, and for the wrong reasons, he insists on an abortion; one life taken, he is responsible for another- his father's as the old man wastes away in the knowledge of his son's silent accusations. Given one more chance to ""connect"", David repudiates it, and then realizes that he can no longer evade the guilt of a spiritual sterility which is his own.... A serious, thoughtful and uncompromising novel, this- while reworking one of the most cogent themes in American life today- also takes a Geiger count of other moral, political and personal crosscurrents.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1962
Publisher: Random House