WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY! by Jorge Semprun

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY!

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Semprun has detailed his experiences in Buchenwald before--in The Long Journey--but he now acknowledges that his earlier writings left out or covered up too much about the suspiciously comfortable relationship between his own Marxism and the whole Nazi mentality. And so, in a shifting, semi-fictional, kaleidoscopic confessio, Semprun here re-writes The Long Journey--with the hard sub-surface truths uncow ered. That Communist Party members like himself survived the Nazi camps had much to do with their adaptability, says Semprun. Marxists have a talent, it seems, for self-protection, self-purging, a mini-terror inside the larger one. (As one character says: ""The dialectic is the art of always falling on your feet."") Furthermore, Sumprun testifies, the Nazi camps were a faithful mirror of Stalinist society. And some of the most compelling pages here--like the best of Koestler, or of Whittaker Chambers--describe how Semprun and his international friends twisted guiltily when confronted by the devastating revelations of a Khrushchev, a Solzhenitsyn, a Shalamov: trying to remain Marxists in the face of the incontrovertible murder which Marxism had so quickly exhausted itself into. Synoptic, recollective, Semprun's memories frequently have a less-than-crystalline, even gluey texture--with a self-indulgence that sometimes drags. But this is the sort of deeply personal, scoured book that is too anguished to be well-groomed; and the disavowals here are unquestionably sincere, politically significant, often transfixing.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich