THE PRISONERS OF QUAI DONG by Victor Kolpacoff
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THE PRISONERS OF QUAI DONG

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Quai Dong is an American military compound in Vict Nam where Kreuger, a former officer had the first person narrator here, is interned. At the beginning of this short novel which deals with an interrogation of a young Vietnamese. Kreuger admits to having learned, during his three years in the Army, to keep his head down. At the end of it he will probably never hold it up again.... Kolpacoff is a natural writer and this is an intensive, implacable documentary of brutalizing a body and ""killing a mind."" Kreuger, an at first queasy but guilty bystander, watches Buckley (who wants a promotion) and McGruder (to whom the army is a ""license to kill"") and Nguyen (their local collaborator) work over the boy--Nguyen stippling his groin with punctures determined to make him talk although afraid to let him die. Finally Kreuger, wanting to free the boy from his pain, wanting really to free himself, picks up the knife.... The novel could be criticized for what it is not (little extension beyond the incident--little development or character) but not for what it is. Kolpacoff can write as clean and controlled a line as anybody in the business since Hemingway and his stringent, strong and unarguably stirring first novel has great authority and impact. Salud--a talent.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1967
Publisher: New American Library