SIROCCO by Joseph Kessel


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There's none of the quiet tragedy of Army of Shadows (Knopf 1944) in this sultry tricornered tale of the desert where men are men and women only passing sport. Hippolyte, half French, half native, with his own particular code of fearlessness, recklessness and defiance, is sent up to Beirut to serve under Major Feroud, who for the first time, with his alternate identity as Mehamet Pasha, inspires fear and admiration in Hippolyte. Falling from grace, Hippolyte goes into town, there engages in an affair with a dancing girl of 15, Violette, uses her at will, only to find that Feroud is also her lover and the victim of his passion. Filled with disgust and disillusion, Hippolyte goes to kill the man he had worshipped, remains to ridicule, but cannot destroy Mehamet's emotional enslavement to Violette, until he kills her, and the two men are freed to continue their careers...The combination of sex and savagery characteristic of his earlier novels is there- but we question this appeal to an American audience.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1947
Publisher: Random House