THE DANCE OF GENGHIS COHN by Romain Gary

THE DANCE OF GENGHIS COHN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The French novelist has constructed a mammoth morality entertainment which is mainly an overpowering labyrinth of cosmic shrubbery. A Jewish dybbuk (is there any other kind?) named Cohn, a former music hall entertainer, tenants the body of Schatz, his Nazi executioner, who is now a police commissioner in the New Germany. Schatz-Cohn arrive to investigate the Forest of Geist where innumerable men have been dispatched in a mysterious fashion--all with trousers unzipped and a beatific smile. Obviously they have died in the clasp of Lily, the temptress who is also Humanity as she awaits the meaningful and potent moment. But no one can ever give Lily a ""reality equal to her longing,"" so that death is the inevitable beneficiary. Jesus also appears in the forest, betrayed, fleeing from a second Crucifixion, and at the close he is indivisible with Cohn (Cohn/Jesus/Schatz will be had by Humanity only once). . . . A Gallic sense of order rescues this from total confusion in the many layers of allegorical fancies, and a black wit points up the ironies of our times. But penetrating this forest takes a hardy geist.

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 1968
Publisher: New American Library