LIFE by Zeno


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What is the twentieth century intention behind imprisonment?"" This is one of the questions the author had time to ponder during the nine years he spent in a London prison for premeditated murder. This is an astute, reflective journal that relates, does not emphasize, the sordid. All the paraphernalia of prison life is here and he has a flair for the revealing detail--faces, like most of the crimes, ""petty""; the man who passed his hanged brother's grave every day in the exercise yard. But this is primarily the story of a man trying to adjust--conscientiously choosing a role, trying to combat boredom, to schedule himself through hours, days, weeks of ""the complete and utter waste of time."" Combatting suicidal notions as death becomes ""the father figure of my middle age"" and raging against the hypocrisy of the authorities who ""pretend so much and perform so little."" And there are the individuals who become his intimates, men with no common denominator (his best friend becomes the British spy George Blake who escapes during this period) except incarceration. Zeno is finally released, but now he must deal with the fact that he has become almost entirely ""unsocial""--hankering for the refuge and solitude of his cell. An involving Life-story, well written.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Stein & Day