CONFESSIONS OF A DISLOYAL EUROPEAN by Jan Myrdal

CONFESSIONS OF A DISLOYAL EUROPEAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though Confessions of a Disloyal European is billed as part ""novel,"" it is clearly a series of variations on the life and times of Jan Myrdal, the son of the noted economist Gunnar Myrdal. Though it is written in English, the author's native tongue is Swedish. Further, though he characterizes himself as a ""disloyal European."" Jan Myrdal is unmistakably European from top to toe. No one but a modern and well educated European would have written so analytical a ""confession,"" intended as an unmasking of the Western intellectual tradition, and brought it to a conclusion with the following arrogant and self-castigating lines: ""We are not the bearers of consciousness. We are the whores of reason."" In his early forties, Myrdal has also published two interesting and more or less sympathetic studies of Communist China, which he visited as a reporter and sociologist. One mentions the political and cultural background of the author since there is a psychological incongruity at the heart of the confession. The ""I"" or ""J.M."" in these pages is partly a Strindbergian narcissist, partly an angry young man, and partly a cold fish. His experiences with his friends, women, family; his adventures in various lands; his childhood memories and interior explorations are all intensely, candidly, and humorlessly conveyed. They do not make a compelling whole, but each section does speak out against the apathy and irresponsibility which Myrdal sees as representing Western affluence and self-interest. A curious document of social guilt.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1968
ISBN: 094170226X
Publisher: Pantheon