After Dunkirk

Milena McGraw, Author
Milena McGraw, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $24 (480p) ISBN 978-0-395-86885-0
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
Shot down during the battle of Dunkirk, Flying Officer Wayne Robert George Henry Luthie is captured and tortured by the enemy before he escapes and returns to England. Believing that ""analyzing, examining and inspecting"" his prewar experience will help him understand both the trauma he suffered at the hands of the Germans and the horrors of war, he begins writing, in ""fits and starts,"" a record of his life. The fictional result, this cerebral first novel, uses stream-of-consciousness narration to recall a colonial childhood and to record life in the RAF at a base where young, inexperienced pilots, fueled on Benzedrine and brandy, undertake training runs and enemy aircraft recognition tests. While rich in period detail and not without cumulative effect, the book's stylized repetitions and pseudo-Modernist pastiche produce, in the end, a merely schematic effort. (May)
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