BRIGHT CANDLES by Nathaniel Benchley
Kirkus Star


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Eva Lis Wuorio's To Fight In Silence (KR, 1973) distilled the spirit of Danish resistance into one idealized rush of familial patriotism. Benchley gives older children a less refined version of the same dark period and of the same events, especially the successful removal of Danish Jews to Sweden. Jens Hansen, whose life is much less sheltered than Wuorio's Jensens children, is a schoolboy at the beginning of the occupation and proceeds from scrawling slogans on walls to organized sabotage and, finally, arrest and escape into the half life of a fugitive. Both the physical risks and practical problems of the underground are remembered here with restraint and occasional cool humor. (One of Jens' major difficulties is finding the Resistance movement after he has determined to join.) And Benchley manages to portray the Danes sympathetically, without distorting the fact that for many outrage was a delayed reaction -- more the result of insults like the traitorous Schalborg Corps than of any ingrained hatred of Nazism. Jens tells his story as a much older man, factually precise yet somewhat rueful about his heroic role in a struggle that was, after all, more dignified and noble than most.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1974
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Harper & Row