THE END OF THE VISIT by Maurice Callard


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A minor key, exotic, but a real love story set in and around Palestine. Harry is a 21-year old British soldier, nice, innocent, well-educated, who half-consciously takes for granted a good future for himself in England, after the Army service. But he is also lonely, and filled with romantic ideas of adventure. Encountering a lovely young Arab girl, Karima, on the beach, he rashly, follows her into the off-limits Arab quarter, where he learns she is a cafe dancer. He is badly beaten by the Arab customers and awakens in Karima's room. She, attracted by his devotion, seduces him. Harry's very virtues prove his down-fall. Romantic, indecisive (she is his first woman), he hovers around her, and is forced by one mishap after another, into deserting the Army and fleeing with her across the border to Belrut. Karima finds homes and jobs for them both. He learns that she is not above sleeping with occasional men to get money for him, but also that he is not above taking unpleasant jobs in order to survive. The trap of her flesh, her loyalty and love, and a curious though wholly different childlike simplicity in both of them, holds him to her. The world he knows slips away in the midst of the violence and poverty of the Middle East. At the book's end, they have settled on a small farm, married and have a child. Karima is beginning to put on fat. Harry, at 23, has spent his youth's adventurousness, and settled, in an alien land, into middle-aged content. It is simply told, moving, full of exotic scenery, and, quietly and unassumingly, convincing.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday