Orbit of Darkness

Ian MacMillan, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $21.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-15-170095-0
The enormity of the Holocaust and the horrors of war leave an indelible imprint in this extraordinary novel, composed of kaleidoscopic fragments, equal in impact to the best of Jerzy Kosinski. At its core is a nameless Jesuit priest--prisoner in Auschwitz--who volunteers to sacrifice himself so that a condemned inmate may live. Viewed by his guards as a ``deranged mystic,'' a ``superhuman machine,'' the priest epitomizes the moral courage that ultimately defeated the facist barbarians. A score of stories swirl around the ordeal of the priest, who almost miraculously survives for weeks despite forced starvation. MacMillan ( Proud Master ) moves cinematically from the victims of the extermination ovens, to a cultured German filmmaker who assists Nazis in making pornographic films of death camps, to children and adults hiding in the Polish woods, to a German soldier hunting down Russian partisans, to the havoc of Berlin in May 1945 as Soviet troops overrun the city. The viewpoint is omniscient, the writing shot through with dark poetry, compassion and anguish. excessive in my view/mc (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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