THE DIGNITY OF NIGHT by Klaus Roehler

THE DIGNITY OF NIGHT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Seven cool, rational and rather violent stories by a German writer. Though they are chiefly concerned with murky and unpleasant aspects of the human mind, they are told with an almost brutal clarity. The first story, about a German teen-aged girl, describes in brief, almost jazz-tempo sentences, her feelings of repulsion and rebellion against her smug, middleclass parents; her confused disappointment when they fail to show up for her birthday; her drunken, agonizing attempt at suicide... The German middleclass is etched yet more acidly in a description of a New Year's party, at which the adults disintegrate from empty stuffiness into drunken sentimentality; sentences as well as dialogues sprawl... In another, crisper story, a girl student is persuaded by social pressure to cruelly cut short her friendship with a Negro boy... An almost funny story of a completely self-absorbed, self-vanquished perpetual 'student', whose chief occupation is sleeping, also painfully reveals his startled horror of life, flesh and daylight...More macabre is the tale of a woman in a food-short town, who slaughters her pigeons, and is so carried away by the blood lust engendered that she attempts to behead her nephew... But most memorable is a two page story, in which a man waiting to hear the final (and fatal) outcome of his wife's operation, observes a cat killing a mouse, an act so pertinent, so brutally described, that it is almost physically nauseating. Unusual, excellently done, morbidly absorbing- for a special market.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1961
Publisher: Lippincott