Polish exile Herling, who lives in Naples, is a writer of fierce intelligence, wide culture, piercing irony and resistance to cant. This kaleidoscopic collage of reminiscences, literary commentary, reflections, parables and semi-fictionalized historical tales is drawn from his Journal Written at Night, which has been appearing since 1970 in the Polish emigre monthly Kultura. Hopping from travel notes on Venice, to the 1941 suicide of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, to a revolt in 1647 of Naples's common people against the Spanish viceroy, to the Katyn mass grave, where the bodies of 4500 Polish officers executed by Soviet troops were discovered in 1943, Herling muses on history's enormous crimes and portrays humanity as stumbling toward freedom despite ignorance, superstition and evil. Born in 1919, Herling, who organized an anti-Nazi underground group and spent two years in a Soviet slave-labor camp during WWII, recounts his meetings with Bertrand Russell, Ignazio Silone and Witold Gombrowicz and offers keen insights into dozens of writers ranging from Camus, Kafka, Conrad, Mann, Gogol and Gorky to Simone Weil and Martin Buber. (June) FYI: In June, Penguin will release in paperback Herling's A World Apart (first published in English in 1951), a chronicle of his ordeal in the Soviet camp.