HEIST AND WASPS by Michael Mott


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Cast in the form of a diary, this short but technically adept novel relates the subtle transformation which occurs in the character of a young German officer during World War II. Having been wounded in the African campaign and, while still a convalescent, the young Captain is given command of a small area in Northeastern Italy where his duties are light and his days are lonely. An introspective and reflective person, he begins his Journal as a ""record of his indulgence"" but, when his involvement with his new post becomes more complicated, he finds that the record of his responses has come to reveal more of himself than he knew existed. And finally his journal becomes dangerous. In it he has recorded the strange behavior of his commanding officer which it develops is actually the Colonel's reluctance to take part in the apprehension of the Jews. And he has revealed his own protection of some Jewish children in his district. This increasing receptiveness to events has presumably been brought about by his love for an Italian girl whom he takes to live with him. But the reader never learns enough about her to credit her with a good part of the Captain's transformation. A seasoned and slightly cynical man of the world at twenty-six (another implausibility) the Captain has been in love before. Actually it seems that the most remarkable feature about the novel is that so much that is convincing could be rendered within the author's extremely judicious style.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1965
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin