Bucharest, the voluptuous capital of Rumania, is the setting for a relentless examination of the workings of the Communist machine. This novel, which appears to be thinly disguised non fiction, deals with numerous characters and predicaments. Each character becomes hopelessly entangled in the illogical logic of Marxian dialectics. illogical in that. It imposes on capricious human beings a mechanical grammar which cannot contain the non-mechanical human spirit. The sudden shifts of party attitude, the cold manipulation of its members, the fanatical rejection of western civilization are particularly agonizing to the sensual, self-indulgent Rumanians. The grotesque efforts of these people to reconcile their appetites with Marxism, the ensuing hypocrisy and fear, are unflinchingly faced by the author, a communist minister who is himself a victim of party policy. His final choice to abandon his home, his secure position, and finally his only child in order to flee with a prematurely aged wife to the more fertile climate of the west concludes this brilliantly organized and painfully honest examination. Rich in human and political material, this is not a book for escapists, but should command serious interest of those readers who question the relative merits of life on both sides of the Iron Curtain.