by Marek Hiasko

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In this his third distinguished novel to be translated from his native Polish, Hiasko has told a moving story of desperate men who drive trucks of logs in the Polish winter mountains. The trucks are rattletrap, with bad clutches, bad brakes. The government promises of new trucks are never fulfilled. One after another, the truckmen crash off snowy hills to death. To the barracks comes a Party Agent with his wife -- both serve as catalysts in the already disturbed camp. The loggers are men, some with criminal records, who cannot get jobs elsewhere. A woman in their midst is disastrous, inflammatory. And the central theme of the novel is the complex interrelationships, the desperation that emerges. There is brutality, poetry, grim humor, compassion here, and the writing is strong, clean cut, though not shying away from the crudity which is integral to the characters. While the plot thread is tenuous, the end result is a first rate novel that demands attention.

Pub Date: March 29th, 1960
Publisher: Dutton