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In life, as in his stories and plays, Jakov Lind tests experience by the amounts of oddity, and disaster it yields. ""I'm in love with my hatred,"" he remarks in his sardonic and strangely moving memoir, and the declaration is apt considering the circumstances. A Jewish refugee from Vienna, Lind spends his late adolescence in Amsterdam; mixing visions of sex and metaphysics with apocalyptic wryness (Hitler, Himmler, and the Gestapo were ""good guys,"" and why shouldn't everyone hate the Jews?), the tousled cynic presents a view of war-torn adversity in every way the opposite of Anne Frank's celebrated diary. Naturally, even when Dame Fortune furnishes him a doctored passport and he escapes the approaching holocaust, he observes flatly: ""I knew I had to be an ordinary Dutch boy, with no hatred and no special emotions one way or the other."" To save one's kin means to have a reversible sensibility, not to mention a Checkered politics. ""Having carried stones from the Atlantic Wall on the boats and coal from Krupp's guns, I might as well help testing metals to put in Messerschmitts."" Here he is referring to a kinky adventure with a Nietzsche-reading Prussian when the Third Reich was collapsing about their ears. Being a connoisseur of the grotesque, Lind has a predictably vivid appreciation of the ironies of fate. After emigrating to the homeland, he discovers that ""to want to sleep in Israel is like wanting to sleep in an ant heap."" Nothing is sacred, history is foul. Yet there is a great deal of verve and poignancy to Exposure Time; Lind, after all, is a talented writer, and blatantly life-giving in spite of himself.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1969
Publisher: Macmillan