NO TIME TO LOOK BACK by Leslie Greener
Kirkus Star


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A thrilling and profoundly moving story, of spiritual and physical struggle in a Japanese prison camp in Malaya. There's an authentic feel to the portraits of the prisoners, with the strengths and frailties and tensions of the outside world in microcosm here in an artifical small world. Authentic, too, is the grim picture of the daily life, the Japanese guards and the Sikhs who rejoiced in getting back at their British enemies. Greener writes out of personal experience, but his story rises above the limitations this might have imposed. His pivotal character is an Anglican Padre, a man who dared to fight for his fellow prisoners' rights, who held camp morals in his grasp, whose faith was a conventional but powerful factor in his character. Two youths came to mean more to him than any of the others, Pendle, an intense and turbulent painter, whose bitterness was intensified by his love for an exquisite Chinese girl who had saved his life. Before the story ends, he has married her, risking a few hours escape before he is moved to another camp. The tragic denouement comes on his return, with his revenge for her abduction as a toy of the Japanese general. The other youth is Andros, supposedly a Greek, suffering from amnesia, but exerting a growing spiritual power over the entire camp. Almost one feels here a symbolism- a sort of Servant in the House quality- with an ending wholly in keeping with the pervading strength and tenderness of the man. A story of mounting intensity and rare beauty. There's a maturity here that is rare in a first novel. Don't overlook it.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1950
Publisher: Viking