Phillips ( The Final Passage ) calls these three novellas a novel, and they are so allied in feeling, though not in style or subject matter, and so superbly written that it would be carping not to go along. Each story captures an apocalyptic moment in the life of a protagonist being tried in his or her innermost being by history's cruelties: an unnamed African at a slave post acts as interpreter for the traders; Rudi Williams, a radical young American black jailed in the '60s, writes letters from a Southern prison; Irina, a Jewish refugee in England, tries not to fall back into madness. The psychology of each narrator determines the startlingly different prose styles of the stories. Phillips impresses also with his intimate knowledge of his subjects and of the way physical and psychological suffering turn into political truths. One reads with anguished suspense as each sad tale is told, exhilarated rather than depressed by the sorrowful truths Phillips humanely pursues. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989 Release date: 09/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.