THE WILD PLACE by Kathryn Hulme
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THE WILD PLACE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Atlantic Monthly Press non-fiction prize is a highly compassionate, often passionate, and at all times holding documentary of the years spent in a Polish D. P. camp by a member of an UNRRA field team. And from the first months at Wildflecken in 1945, there were no convenient categories for this fugitive flood- ""each new individual encounter would repeat the misery in a slightly different form"" as the boxcars with their human cargo were shipped in from the concentration camps. There were the problems of organization, and order, and food- and the delirium (close to a demonstration at one point) over chocolate bars and Spam after six years of black bread and potato soup; the frustration of requisitions -- arrows shot into the air; the long enclosed winter and the unwelcome present from headquarters on Christmas of an unexpected 1000 new arrivals; and the endless file of statistics, fingerprints and branded arms which had a far more human identification -- the Countess with her aristocratic bearing and her decisive enterprise; the faithful Ignatz who knew how to do everything- save ask for help; Georgi; etc., etc. And as time passed, cloistered in the strange half-world of the camp, here were the men and women without a country and with no place to go; the bitterness of selective emigration; the disillusion in the first D.P. act which was certainly not written by the lady who lifted the lamp; the endless reorganizations and negotiations behind closed doors and drawn curtains.... A deeply felt and deeply moving record of this whole tragedy of displacement and dispossession, this is certain to engage the heart of any reader who has one -- and it may well reach an audience which too often prefers to insulate itself against books of this kind. But the sleeper success of the Anne Frank diary, while very different from this, suggests a possible market.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1953
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.