THE ENEMY by Wirt Williams


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Life on a submarine destroyer during the last war, microscopically recorded by a young Lieutenant who is chiefly distinguished by a laconic manner, and a passion for irrelevant detail. The hunt for ""The Enemy"", German submarines, is entirely fruitless until the end of the book, and most of the attention is focussed on the minutiae of the tedious life of men confined to a ship, and the general dislike of an officious officer. The latter is the only character developed with care. After maintaining a realistic, almost journalistic approach throughout the book, the narrator finally views the hunt in a metaphysical light (too close to the allegorical theme of Moby Dick for comfort), forfeiting consistency and impact. Because it is neither a story of action nor character, and because the author fails to maintain a steady idea of what he wants to say and how he wants to say it, the book leaves no definite impression, and has no ready market. It is somewhat to his credit that he has managed to write a rather pointless book, without being actually dull about it.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1951
ISBN: 0548452792
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin