FIRES ON THE PLAIN by Ooka Shohel

FIRES ON THE PLAIN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Report repeated from the January 1st issue, as follows: ""An , haunting sort of book, this might well be what it purports to be- the notes of a madman in a mental hospital, striving to put down in stream of consciousness what he remembers of his experiences in the jungles of the Philippines. Shunted back and forth from his unit to the hospital, and rejected by both, he takes up a strange existence, now with small groups of wanderers and stragglers, now alone. He lives on twigs and roots and raw potatoes; he ventures into a deserted village and investigates a cross- a church; he hides out in the priest's house and, when Filipinos come, seeking something, he shoots and kills the girl, and finds what they sought- salt. This for a time is his passport to humanity; salt is desperately needed; but his knowledge that he has killed needlessly haunts him. Eventually again he kills a comrade who has turned cannibal. He himself clings to his superiority- he has killed but not eaten his prey. There are weird and horrifying adventures. There is always the brink of danger from Filipino guerrillas, from American occupying troops. There is an awareness of beauty as well as horror, and an all-pervading sense of coming almost to grips with an unseen God, another world. It is an extraordinarily successful translation. But when one has finished one wonders who will want to read it?

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1957
Publisher: Knopf