HEAD AGAINST THE WALL by Herve Bazin

HEAD AGAINST THE WALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The tragic legacy of bad blood- but not in tragic terms, for a close-up of mental deterioration and disintegration which is drawn to scale with comfortless precision and little heart. For the inheritance of Arthur Gerane, whose mother had suicided, is muffled until Arthur's truancies and escapades bring on a harsh judgment from his father who has his worthless, aimless son committed to an asylum. But it is Roberte, Arthur's sister, who is the more direct victim of insanity for when she marries- and becomes pregnant- her mind gives way, and she sinks into complete imbecility. Arthur, meanwhile, spends months and years behind bars, escapes repeatedly, disappears successfully at one time during which he marries a Belgian farmgirl, Stephanie, with thickened ankles and speech, but nonetheless staunch in her attempts to gain his release once he is caught again. But Arthur is finally left to a ""posthumous existence"" within the asylum, while his memory lives on for Stephanie in the child she bears, only to witness again the pattern of degeneracy.... A satiric spectacle of lives which are out of kilter, portrayed with an exhaustive, relentless realism.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1952
Publisher: Prentice-Hall