THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINS by Godfrey Blunden

THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A segment of the past war in which the village of Kharkiv, in the Soviet Ukraine, is taken by the liberating German Army, with its exterminative procedures against its enemies, and the resulting intrigues of all sides. Although the 1941 focus shifts from one faction to another, from character to character, the central story has to do with the school which harbours abandoned children, whose unpolitical, warm mistress, Maryusa, awakens too late to realize that her self-appointed charges are being used for spies, and who is abandoned by the fleeing Germans to be slaughtered by the incoming, victorious Communists. The fragmented, episodic, interrogative method here is molded into an inclusive mosaic in which a fanatical boy, a mental case, the high brass, an eminent philogist, a prostitute, a youthful hysteric, partisans, SS troopers, peasants and others who seek shelter in political expediency -- all have their parts, sometimes declaiming, sometimes interpreting -- and seldom acting from intelligent belief. In the Kafka trend, the sifting here of values, emotions, and mental processes has a sterile quality as a cohesive novel although in some of its scenes and incidents there is a clean cut impact in the grim and gruesome images of a manysided conflict.

Pub Date: May 21st, 1952
Publisher: Lippincott