The scene is a Polish DP camp in northern Germany in 1947; the hero is Stefan Grzegorezyk, a young man who is almost as embittered by the ""dark mysteries of national "" on the part of fllow poles as by the German atrocities. Indeed, nothing gives him any pleasure except his vivid recollections of his home town in Pomerania before the war, and now momentarily, the love of a German girl, Ursula, who tries to save him from ""the absence of perspective, the distortion of all values"", that is in the camp. Ur, believably, although improbably, is the daughter of his father's former mistress back in Poland; their story, as well as another, involving the venality of the camp leaders, in well handled but relatively unimportant. The best parts of the bk are the portrayals of the inmates, officials and visitors around the camp particularly the poles, dreaming of passports to America. Eventually Stefan is trapped and defeated and he learns that ""Wherever you go, your greedy, jealous, vindictive fatherl goes with you"". If this is somewhat unsatisfying, perhaps it is because the only answer for Stefan and the thousands like his is ""collective amnesia"". At least, no other alternative is offered here in a novel which is strongest in its authe if perhaps limited in its appeal by the circumstances which generate it.