In the labyrinth /

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Main Author: Morley, John David, 1948- (Author)
Format: Book
Edition:1st ed.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A useful addition to the tradition of literature that depicts a prisoner, unfairly jailed, who endures the hellish environment of capture. Morley (Pictures From the Water Trade) takes an interesting approach to his subject. He has found a man who was yanked from his family and imprisoned. Morley calls the man Joseph Pallehner and presents the man's story in the first person. Much of the book is based on taped conversations with the victim, and those are supplemented with readings, conversations with others, and authorial imagination to put it into a narrative. The book opens with Pallehner's arrest in post-WW II Germany. Pallehner is picked up by the Americans seemingly because the Czechs may have requested that he be questioned. With no evidence in his file against him, it at first appears that Pallehner will, as he expected, simply be released. By his account, some error sends him to Leopoldov Prison in Czechoslovakia. Pallehner can't understand any of this since he claims to have spent the war conducting a business only marginally related to German war activities. He takes time to recall his past and then confronts the brutal realities of prison life, chronicling in detail the seven years he spent in prison. The cumulative effect of his story and the stories of the other prisoners is a vivid portrait of the moral strength it takes to suffer through an unjustified (or even a justified) imprisonment. At times, Pallehner seems to overlook any possible level of guilt during the reign of Nazism, a fact which makes too easy his self-perceived innocence, but which never takes away from the absurdity of the injustice he faces. Harrowing reading, this book provokes important questions about the survival of the human spirit under desperate circumstances. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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