When a young boy protagonist realizes that the ""island of his boyhood"" is irretrievable, the novelist can well consider that he has attained manhood. But Peter Cherestvienski has a more difficult time than most in taking this step -- his country is Eastern Poland in 1942. The Germans occupy the land at the same time that Ukrainian and Polish nationalists are battling for its possession. To give up his boyhood means relinquishing the whole universe of values he knew when his family lived peaceably and well in pre-war Poland. To accept the future means acknowledging that the leader of the rebel Ukrainian faction is his own illegitimate brother, and that he, Peter, must be responsible for the family's survival. It is a good story and well told. Each member of his grandfather's house has his own way of reacting to the future or clinging to the past. In long gasps of sentences and paragraphs, the novel herds the nearly breathless reader forward and makes good sense of Peter's childish resistance to the unpleasant realities he must face and personally overcome. Odojewski (The Dying Day) represents the strain of contemporary Polish fiction that merits attention as one of the most interesting modern European -- not just satellite -- literatures.