BROKEN IMAGE by Virginia Ebert


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A curious and haunting sort of book. I didn't like it -- but I couldn't put it down. I thought the heroine deserved all she got, but I found myself desperately hoping she could reach some sort of adjustment,- intellectually, physically, emotionally, within her tortured self. I tried to deny the sense of it-might-have-happened so, while at the same time I wondered whether it might not be closer to the truth than much that is published as fact. Helvy Rysenal is awaiting trial for treason. Through flashbacks interspersed with continued narrative, the reader gets the story of the three men in her life, and of the betrayal of a code she herself had invented to the German officer who tempted her into a hopeless, helpless passion. The manner is as strange as the matter. Some of it is beautiful and obscure, with almost a rhythmic quality. Most of it is spare and direct. All of it has a difficult-to-analyze emotional quality. And through it emerges the agony of a soul- the convincing portrait of a woman shattered by unbalance, by thwarted desire, by external factors that take advantage of her immaturity. The scene shifts from a prison in the Philippines to occupied Paris, and the luxurious quarters of a kept woman. And the dominant note of conscience -- of blame sought for trust betrayed -- colors the whole. Don't overlook it. People will read it and talk about it.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1950
Publisher: Morrow