Shadowlife

Martin Grzimek, Author, Breon Mitchell, Translator New Directions Publishing Corporation $11.95 (207p) ISBN 978-0-8112-1152-9
In an unnamed European state in the indefinite but not distant future, a talented ``CIB'' agent (``Central Institute for Biographics'') turns renegade and commits serious violations of protocol. One view of the evidence presents Felix Seyner at the point of resigning, transmitting a lengthy letter that attempts by flattery, cajolery and blackmail to resume an amour with a girlfriend from his leftist student days--and her unfavorable reply. The official investigation has it otherwise; the ``girlfriend'' is Felix's alter ego, Felix may be a murderer, and his record of false trails and ingenious ``hacking'' into CIB's archives may have compromised the institute's integrity. Within this deft Orwellian improvisation on a theme, little can be stated with absolute confidence. What is this CIB: an innocent purveyor of entertainment and social research, or--as is darkly hinted--an organization dedicated to pre-empting the arts and letters and whatever else is left of open society? This fine modernist (and mischievous) novel probes potential directions for state social control as well as the nature and moral position of fiction. Grzimek also is the author of Heartstop. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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