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Two men interned in a Czechoslovakian labor camp initiate a small but significant rebellion against considerable obstacles in the interests of justice. Undoubtedly this novel, as others from countries which Russia has graced with her presence, will be interpreted as a courageous defiance of Communism. Courageous it may be although what is defied is not the system but the impurities thereof. (""Laws are intended to, be valid . . . the secret lay in forcing the regulations to assume Validity."") A new prisoner, Vojda, is interned for vehicular homicide; his mentor is the Pilot who has been interned for seven and a half years. He has continued his contemptuous resistance to authority (even after the death of Stalin) when a parole was offered which he lost due to an obscene reference to the fact that he was imprisoned for no good reason. Now when a man is unjustly beaten, both young Vojda and the Pilot join the rebellion and finally succeed in smuggling a letter through to the right channels which bring release for the Pilot. A bit too didactic for most American readers but Mr. Benes, who spent two years in prison for supporting condemned Russian writers, knows whereof he speaks.

Pub Date: Nov. 10th, 1969
Publisher: Grossman