This remarkable novel, the circuitous narrative of a wandering Jew escaping the ""big sweep"" in 194-, may, in its point of origin and theme, occasion a comparison with The Last of the Just. But as against the apocalyptic anguish of the Schwarzart, this is unredemptive in tone, and its tragedy is often tinged with the Absurd. Through the sometimes inchoate diaries and poems of Boris, a dilettante poet-philosopher and sensualist, this reconstructs the story of his escape from a small town in Ukraine with a young woman to whom he is not too attached. Their joint destiny takes them to a hospital, a temporary haven, run by a conscienceless Dr. Cohen, and then they continue on through the mountains to a small resort where for a time Boris manages to pass. The story is told in sometimes unchronological sequences and insets, and reaches its final phase with Boris' arrest, his interrogation and his exposure through the telltale ""hieroglyph"", of his race. Still Boris' fear of death is stronger than his indifference to life, a life which here becomes a ridiculous refutation of man and one in which existence is reduced to a guttering instinct to survive.... In translation from the French, this is a variously graphic, symbolic, savagely satirical, but the book has an unquestionable power and, as a final paradox, succeeds in sustaining an extraordinary elan vital in the midst of death.. It may well encounter reader reluctance along with critical attention.