THE TEST by Pierre Boulle


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The Bridge Over The River Kwa. Not The Gla and Face of a Here all had a sense of fable telling which at base was a morality tale. This holds true for the fourth of this author's books, which returns to the East for the start of its story. Little Marie-Helen finds refuge with the Saat family in their kampong on the Malayan island of Sinang when the Japs raid her family's estate and murder her father. Adopted as Anak Kichi she passes the tests to prove herself worthy of her protectors and of marriage to Moktuy. A scientist and a priest, at the request of her mother in France, come to find some remains of the child believed dead and are convinced of Anak Kichi's identity; they kidnap her and take her to her mother. Schooling in the rigid French tradition is the test which she must pass to be free to return to Moktuy and the people she loves; and notice of her failure drives her to the scientist, who, with the priest, is shocked at the wrongness of education. Moktuy, who has followed her, believes her failure means they are not to be together and, despairing, hopeless, kills her and himself. The little a ""civilized"" life has to offer, the arguments of religion and science, the evils of educational rigidity hang heavily over the story and the characters albeit the criticisms are sharp and aware.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1957
Publisher: Vanguard