THE WAILING MOUNTAIN by Mihailo Lalic

THE WAILING MOUNTAIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A partisan guerrilla writes the diary of his vagrancy in the Serbian mountains. Although Lado is supposedly a member of the Communist resistance against the Italians in the Second World War, he spends his time confronting Yugoslavs disloyal to the Party, rather than in a search for the enemy. As his mission becomes more disorganized, so does his mind. Hiding out in Leper's Cave, he imagines meetings with (of all people)--the Devil, who finds Lado's soul a somewhat undesirable commodity. Caught up in the battle to survive, Lado begins to steal -- against all Party principles -- then pretends to be killed in his cave and takes over the Devil's place in a masquerade before selected townspeople. At the end, he is still alone-- a guerrilla's supreme triumph--and still wandering on the ""wailing mountain,"" the mythical location of darkness. His story moves too slowly, but if it seems senseless, then so is the life of a hunted wanderer. Not exactly a For Whom the Bell Tolls, this superbly translated novel is still a good example of ""modern"" Balkan writing -- a welcome change in stylistic sophistication from the folkloric simplicity of Ivo Andric....an example, not a masterpiece.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1965
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World