cover image Warsaw


Albert Litewka. Sheridan Square Press, $21.95 (499pp) ISBN 978-0-941781-03-9

This bulging first novel collapses under the freight of an overpopulous cast, leaden pacing and clumsy prose. In WW II Warsaw, Jewish resistance leader Abrahmsp ok Bankart proves so dangerous a foe that the Nazis dispatch an officer to ferret him out. Posing as a Jew, SS Lieutenant Eugen Glueck infiltrates the ghetto, where his suffering and his exposure to the tragedies of the Underground foment an unlikely revulsion for his own cause. Characters are lost amid a sprawling set, and loose ends abound--the unexplained murder of a Jewish girl sent to a convent for safekeeping; the ineffectual machinations of a resistance fighter who doesn't look Jewish; the ominous introduction of Nazis who mysteriously fade from view. The language is ponderous and sloppy (``Victor's discussion of resistance had also progressively declined in substantiality''); unnecessary details about dress and food further retard the plot. (Nov.)