THE ABYSS by Manes Sperber
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The second novel in the trilogy which began with The Burned Bramble, this continues his searching probe of dislocation and disorientation in a wartime world and forms a sustained and passionate work. Re-encountered is Faber, a disillusioned ex-communist, lately freed from a Russian concentration camp and rescued by his old history professor, Baron Von Stetten. Faber, now in Austria, feels that he will soon sink forever into an abyss of despair from which there will be no recall, but the pull of life is stronger than he had realized. He searches for a woman he had once loved, and so takes the first dazed steps in his journey back. The betrayal of an old friend, now a Nazi, results in Stetten's arrest- and forces Faber's escape to Paris and from there he is able to marshal forces to save Stetten. He finds himself involved in the despair of the widow of an old friend, and his indebtedness to Stetten brings his consent to collaborate on a book. And so, bit by bit, stimulated by personal ties or by the promptings of an old ideological loyalty, Faber participates in living only to learn that Hitler's advent in France is inevitable. But when he seeks his own death, an injured child deflects his intention and drives him to find refuge for them both... Less introspective than Arthur Koestler, this still is for his audience of thoughtful readers and offers a searching evaluation of contemporary conduct at a time when existence and faith sustain a harsh struggle for survival.

Pub Date: May 22nd, 1952
Publisher: Doubleday