THE OCCUPYING POWER by Gwyn Griffin

THE OCCUPYING POWER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This last, presumably, novel of the late Gwyn Griffin takes place on the island of Baressa (Italian Somaliland) during a five year halcyon hiatus after the British Army removes it from Fascist control and occupies it during World War II. Ostensibly this provides a military background which Gril'fin has used in almost all of his novels with firm and forceful results, However here the novel to an extent gives way to a kind of serene, siesta lethargy which is part of Baressa's charm--i.e, nothing much happens. Indeed the island is a protected exile-escape from the realities not only of the war but of life under more peaceful circumstances, and the representatives of the ""occupying power,"" Colonel Euan Lemonfield, a Captain Christopher Kellerman-now garrison commander, Baines their Police Chief, all find the notion of leaving the island unthinkable. The natives respond happily to their takeover; a state of amity exists; and even when they discover Mr. Lillywhite (a former customs clerk engaged in dubious enterprises of all kinds) hiding a German S.S. officer, not much is done. The S.S. officer, while he loses a leg, is eventually given a fair amount of liberty which permits him to try and get away and he succeeds in killing Police Chief Baines. . . A more purposive narrative, and more purposeful-at any rate individualized-characters, would have stiffened the spine of the book. At most, like Baressa, lenitive.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1968
Publisher: Putnam