Sunday, April 22, 2012


POINTS 15 appeared in autumn of 1952.  In a departure from the familiar yellow covers, this issue was in black with yellow titles, perhaps not a coincidence as the newest small journal to appear on the Paris literary scene, MERLIN, had black covers with white titles.



This issue of POINTS is out later than we expected. We apologise to our readers for this delay. As most people know, the path of a little magazine is not always smooth.

The sad lack of good short stories is most disappointing. There seems to be no shortage of writers, though, who are eager to review books, write essays and generally criticise writers and their works. This appears to be a lean period for young writers to create. Perhaps the appearance of two new magazines in Paris, MERLIN (already two issues) and PARIS REVIEW (to appear shortly) has something to do with our problem.  Nevertheless the editors of this magazine wish our new "rivals" all good fortune and success.

In spite of an increase in our sales, especially in England and the U.S.A., another disturbing factor is the lack of constructive critical letters written to us by our readers. We are not printing in this issue any "Letters to the Editor", as the only ones we have
received are of the gushing type by would-be writers. In every issue this editor has encouraged readers to write in their opinions, which if of general interest, for or against the magazine, would be printed. Hope dies slowly, so we go on encouraging.

This issue has two articles which we think are unusually interesting and some "letters" from Dublin, written to us by Brendan Behan. These letters were at first not meant for publication, but after receiving several we asked the writer's permission to edit them and print them as a sort of an article. Some of the spicier words and bits had to be cut out, as we do not wish to be barred from any postal services.  We also wish to remind our readers, that the opinions expressed in any articles published in this magazine are not necessarily those of this editor.



Sindbad VAIL – Notes by the Editor
Roy BONGARTZ – Watch my Angel
Adrian VINCENT – The Christmas Tree
Daniel MAUROC – Un garcon dans le soleil
John Henrik CLARKE – The Bridge
Jean-François LEMERRE – Le Courrier du Cœur
Kenneth BEAUDOIN – Poem
James E. RUOFF – The Fountain
Alan RIDDELL – Two Poems
Clive D. GREIDINGER – Interloper
KELLY – The Epic of the Man in Black
Georges ALEXANDRE – Requiem, Refuge
Hanssen RILEY – Reflexions upon the May Festival and Proposals for a Spring Offensive
D. Jon GROSSMAN - Humorous Verse and Serious Poetry
Brendan BEHAN – Letters from Ireland
Austryn WAINHOUSE – Book Reviews:
            Translated by Ezra POUND – New Directions
            GUIDE TO KULCHUR
            by Ezra POUND – New Directions
            Poems by Louis DUDEK, Irviong LAYTON and Raymond SOUSTER
   Contact Press, Toronto
   Henry MILLER – New Directions
Jane PENE DU BOIS – Book Reviews:
            a novel by Elio VITTORINI – New Directions
            by William STYRON – Hamish Hamilton
            THE HUNT
            by Warren CARRIER – New Directions
            par Jacques ROLLAND – Gallimard
            LA RANÇON
            par Julien SEGNASIRE – Gallimard
            ALLONS Z’ENFANTS
            par Yves GIBEAU – Calmann Lévy

The new contributors page was again missing from this issue, but the back pages carried several ads in POINTS 15.

The letters from Ireland written to POINTS by Brendan Behan are reproduced below (© The Estate of Brendan Behan, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) and although edited by Sindbad Vail they do contain the N word which we hope readers will not be offended by as we do not wish to exercise any censorship in our presentation of material as it appeared in POINTS originally.


Brendan BEHAN

Brendan Behan was first published in POINTS in December,
1950. The last two years he has kept up an erratic,
but voluminous, correspondence with the Editors,
We are printing here those extracts from his letters (beginning
with the short autobiographical note he sent at the Editor's
request), which, we hope, may interest, amuse or otherwise
divert, the general reader - and also give him some idea of
life in Ireland to-day as it appears to at any rate one Irishman.

Born; Dublin 1923.

Reared in the Northside Slums. Finished School '36. Joined the I.R.A. 1937. Volunteered for the International Brigade 1938; rejected on grounds of youth. Arrested at Liverpool 1939 - Sentenced to three years Borstal for complicity in acts of terrorism. Spent a very happy two years in reform school, was house captain and pack leader of the Rugby XV. Thinks the Borstal System is very civilised but disapproves of the English Prison System. During this period was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Shares this honour with De Valera (excommunicated 1922) and his father Stephen Francis Behan (also excommunicated 1922).

Released from Borstal and deported from England 1941. Arrested in Dublin 1942 after a gun battle with detectives and sentenced to fourteen years penal servitude. Released 1946 after four and a half years. Arrested Manchester 1947, having helped in the escape of an l.R.A. prisoner. Sentenced to four months for breach of expulsion order.

Has contributed to Republican journal and to Envoy, The Bell, Comhar, Feasta, (all of Dublin) and is one of the few living Gaelic Poets, translated (or worth translating) into English. Reads Joyce and Joyce and Joyce and 0' Casey and Shaw and Evelyn Waugh.

P.S. — Mother's brother wrote the National Anthem.

Dublin, May 1951

Some months ago, I wrote you that I had started a book. I am calling it Borstal Boy.

Here is a bit of it.

I might see you in the summer if you are still there. I was in Dieppe last month but only on a jump with an Irish boat. Got drunk on the North Wall and - off with them. Had no papers and so could not go up to Paris... and came home, armed with bottles of Pernod, 200 fr. ex-bond, which was what I principally came for.

Dublin, June 1951

You must excuse the terrible typing. It was not my fault. I had to do it myself. No typist in Dublin would look at it.

A woman that used to do a bit for me I fell out with. 

I have no copy of that mss. I wonder would it be a terrible big thing to ask you to do whatever excising you would think necessary? 

For the... and so forth, could you manage an initial and a dash?

It is an extract from a novel. Why shouldn't it read like that? 

Poems of mine in Gaelic are being broadcast from Radio Eireann,  but apart from not understanding Irish, Radio Eireann is but barely audible in the pub next door.

Sometime I will explain to you the feeling of isolation one suffers writing in a Corporation housing scheme. The literary pubs are not much good to me. I prefer to drink over the north side where the people are not so strange to me. Cultural activity in present day Dublin is largely agricultural. They write mostly about their hungry bogs and the great scarcity of crumpet. I am a city rat. Joyce is dead and O'Casey is in Devon. The people writing here now have as much interest for me as an epic poet in Finnish or a Lapland novelist.

June, 1952

I decided to go to work as a free-lance hack writer to get enough money to finish my novel in peace. That's an easier trade than house painting, that is...

I made a packet, and very nearly lost my sanity, in the process.  I was drunk night, noon and morning. Now, outside of reform school and Borstal, I have been a steady drinker from from the age of fifteen, but this wasn't that sort of drinking. It wasn't even like going in for one into the Mabillon or the Reine Blanche (one bit of Paris I do not miss), and finishing in Les Halles the next morning, or in the Rue Cordellieres (up at Port Royal, at the Salvation Army - a bit more usual for me); it was just:... "Givvez three thousand on...., Brendan, will you ? Usual rates, ... guineas a thousand and the shillings for me-self"... "Do iz an ould proagramme for the Easter commemoration and I'll see Sean about the other".

And I finally said, to hell with it, I'll go down and do my own which is what I'm doing now, and am broke, and it is a matter of some scoff for next week. The mountains are lovely. I wish I had a snap, and this is an old hideout of the I.R.A., there was a man shot dead by the Free State Army at the very window I'm writing this. And for all I run down the I.R.A. in my writing they were the only damn ones, when I had no place to write in peace, to say, "That's all right Brendan, you go down there and use G..., it's no good to us now, it's too well known." So here I am and very happy and I'll have the novel finished in its entirety before Christmas, and I'll submit to you a few thousand words...

Dublin, October 1952

A piece of verse in Gaelic I had in the the Irish Times Saturday Book-page, with accompanying translation by Donagh Mac Donagh, was about the death of Wilde in the Hotel d'Alsace. It was much praised by the local mandarins or mandarineens, and then the next issue, Monday, had a most vicious letter attacking it as "brutal and ugly"... Jesus help my wit, didn't think I was a great man altogether, when complete strangers would go to the trouble of abusing me thus (for, as you know, it's better to be adversely criticised than ignored), till I discovered that the — that wrote the letter was some — that disliked me on grounds purely racial and social, and thought it a disgrace that me likes should be allowed into print at all, unless it would be into the criminal intelligence.

Grossman will discover a rejection slip lurking between the headlamps of Mary Wyatt.
(Mr. Behan refers to a letter published in POINTS n° 14. Ed.)

It's a thing we all do. I had a story rejected by... here one time and went round the city saying the Editor was long known to the G.H.Q. of the I.R.A. as an agent of the British Government

Things here are much as usual, except that Paddy, the wanker poet and peasant, is in London, which is as near home as he can get, not having the fare to Boston or New York. The disciples he left behind him still line the bars and give me an odd pint of porter or glass of malt, if I can listen respectfully enough to the old chat about Angst. A generation or so ago, they were arsing round the bog and a bowl of stirabout and a couple of platefuls of spuds would have cured all the Angst from here back to Norway; but since the changeover in Twenty-two, when they got well down to the porridge pot, there's no holding them. It started off with top-hats and white-ties, and getting into the gentry, and then to chatting about the servant problem with the Horse-Protestants, and it went from that till late dinner, and now it's Angst, no less.

Not that the aforesaid Horse-Protestants were any better. They've been longer at it.  They are just as ignorant except that their ill manners are sharpened by time: The myth of the Anglo-Irish (Brinsley Sheridan, a peasant's grandson; Yeats, artist's son; Wilde, a doctor's son; WolfeTone, a coach-painter's son; Parnell, the grandson of an American sea-captain; Robert Emmet, a doctor's son; Bernard Shaw, a clerk), and the present attempt to drag Irish writers who happened to be Protestant after the fox-hunt and the Royalist inanity, would have us believe that most rapacious rack-renting in Europe were really lamps of culture in a bog of darkness, doing good by stealth and shoving copies of HORIZON under the half-doors of the peasantry after dark and making wedding presents to the cottagers of Ganymed Press reproductions of Gaugin.

There is of course no such thing as an Anglo-Irishman, as Shaw pointed out in the preface to "John Bull's Other Island"; except as a class distinction. All Protestant genius, even, is not nobbled for the stable boys and girls. It must at least wear a collar and tie. Sean O'Casey is not claimed as an Anglo-Irish writer, because he had no land except what a window-box would hold on the sill of a Northside tenement: The Belfast industrial workers who are the thickest concentration of Royalism and pro-Britishism in Ireland are never claimed as Anglo-Irish, and Lady... would feel herself a brood sister to a Shankill Road Orangeman only at such times as the Mick niggers were getting out of hand and he could shoulder a gun for her, like Scarlett O'Hara and the poor white.

I got a Penguin "Plato's Symposium". With difficulty: The Censorship can hardly get after him at this time of day, but as one bookman (saving your presence) said to me, "We saw a slight run on it, and the same sort of people looking for it, so we just took it out of circulation ourselves. After all, we don't have to be made decent minded by Act of the Dail. We have our own way of detecting smut, no matter how ancient." In common with most of my babu countrymen, he had the sort of English accent which  would make you laugh, sort of Western Brothers from Western Connacht, and  pronounced your man's name "Plate-o," rather as if it were something you put in soup.

About the novel. I have about fifty thousand words done. I haven't done much to it lately, because I'm writing a play for the Abbey and have had to do some jobs for the radio and various journals to live. As it turned out, the strain of meeting the sort of people who have to do with journalism was so great that, for the first time In my life, I drank from pure nervous strain. I have a feeling I toid you ail this before. (So have you, more than likely, by the time you get this far).

...I'm Jesuswell starved of any kind of contact at the moment. The worst feature of the angsters is that they have it mixed with fox-hunting and meeting horses. I never knew a horse (to speak to, I mean) till I went to the nick in England and they put me ploughing on the farm because I was an Irishman. The end of my tussle with horse was that I ran away, and a warder fired at me, he thought ( was trying to escape. So I was, from the bloody horse.

I can get over to Paris easily, but I'm getting too old for just landing in a city on my arse, flat broke...

G.S. I met peculiarly enough, through POINTS. I was talking to some students in a booser at Lincoln Place, and this lad introduced me and said I wrote for POINTS. I was delighted at this, of course it being a bit of a change to being introduced as a man that writes funny bits for Radio Eireann or has his life story running in.... and asked him did he read POINTS. Another fellow said "Does he read it? Certainly he reads it, and what's better, writes for it." So G. and I had a good piss-up together, as happy with one another as if we were both natives of East Jesus. Kansas, newly met in the Rue Scribe... He was nothing of an angster, or like a sensible chap kept it for his writing; and his fancy-woman, a homely tub of a girl from the country, fried us rashers and eggs to soak up the porter...

Good luck.

..Slan agus beannacht,


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


If Sylvia Beach did not invent “The English Bookshop” in Paris when she opened SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY at 8, rue Dupuytren in the 1920s, the reputation that her shop would acquire during its lifetime would bestow that honor on Miss Beach.  SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY became “home” to the expatriates who flocked to Paris in the 1920s.

James Joyce and Sylvia Beach at 8, rue Dupuytren

Rue Dupuytren was a narrow street that ran between Rue Monsieur le Prince and Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine.  The shop moved in the summer of 1921 to larger quarters at 12, rue de l’Odéon, a much nicer address.  The location at 8, rue Dupuytren was vacant in the early 1960s.

SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY, like the mythical bird Phoenix, was reborn in Paris in the 1950s.  The following obituaries fill in some of the details:

Founder of famed Paris English bookshop dies
Published: 14 Dec 2011 13:28 GMT+1
The Local
France’s News in English
George Whitman, the founder of the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris – a famed writers' refuge and English-language literary hub in the French capital – died Wednesday aged 98, the shop said.

"George Whitman died peacefully at home in the apartment above his bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris," the shop announced on its Facebook page.
"George suffered a stroke two months ago, but showed incredible strength and determination up to the end, continuing to read every day in the company of his daughter, Sylvia, his friends and his cat and dog," it said.
Across from the Notre Dame Cathedral in the Latin Quarter, Shakespeare and Company was known to generations of expatriates in Paris as a haunt of aspiring writers, who would work in the shop and sleep in the stacks after hours.
Whitman founded the shop in 1951, naming it after the previous Shakespeare and Company owned by Sylvia Beach, which in the 1920s was a gathering place for writers including Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce.
"After a life entirely dedicated to books, authors and readers, George will be sorely missed by all his loved ones and by bibliophiles around the world who have read, written and stayed in his bookshop for over 60 years," the shop said.

The Independent. London, January 10 or 11, 1991.
In the byways of literature and art Norman Rubington was a seminal figure. He went to Paris in the early 1950s to paint and became involved with the group of expatriate American (and a few British) figures that included Christopher Logue, Dan Jones, Alexander Trocchi, William Burroughs, Iris Owens, Richard Seaver, who edited the Paris Review, Merlin and other periodicals - and subliminally Samuel Beckett, whose work some of them espoused. This group was eventually gathered up by Maurice Girodias to advise, edit and write for his Olympic Press that published both erotica and literature, and where possible a combination of the two, in the puritanical days before the Obscene Publication Act 1959 in the UK made literary merit a sufficient counter-balance to allow publication of sexually explicit material.
A painter of considerable prestige and some commercial success, Rubington was commissioned by Girodias to write pornographic novels for him, which he did under the penname of Akbar del Piombo. These were enormously successful with GIs visiting Paris and English readers seeking titillation. He also wrote erotic verse under the same name and illustrated many of these books. Often using scenes in Arab harems and exaggerated, often extremely funny, orgy scenes, his work was characterised by much tongue-in-cheek humour and definite literary quality far beyond the demands of the publisher. There was also a strong streak of social and political satire in his work. Subjects he used included the drug scene, war, the art world and society generally.
Rubington studied art at Yale before the war and in Paris after it. In the army during the war he worked in military intelligence as mapmaker and interpreter of aerial photographs. He was also a war artist.
Rubington won the prestigious Prix de Rome as a painter and subsequently spent three years in that city. Other prizes and fellowships followed, including the Guggenheim and Tiffany Awards and the Religous Arts Award, the latter because of the religous painting he did for churches, including a crucifixion for the Grace Cathedral of San Francisco.
He was about to be honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters when he died. His work, close to Surrealism and mostly representational, is associated with American Expressionism of which he was an early exponent. It is usually infused with humor and an eye for the erotic, often including portraits of personalities such as Orson Wells or others he wished to characture. His work hangs in major American museums' collections.
His novels, mostly published in the Fifties and the early Sixties, included Who Pushed Paula?, Cosimo's Wife, Skirts, The Traveller's Companion, and The Fetish Crowd, all written as Akbar del Piombo. Under his own name he published, also with Olympia Press, the satirical collage novels Fuzz Against Junk and The Hero Maker using the same collage technique as Max Ernst in Une semaine de bonte. He was associated with various groups of painters in both France and the U.S. and took part in many group shows. His own one-man exhibitions were principally in Paris, Boston and San Fransisco. In addition he illustrated many books and experimental films, some of them leading to the work of Monty Python, whose work is similar. His book Twelve Painters, Twelve Poets was a successful attempt to bring the arts together.
In the Fifties he became a habitue of Paris' best bookshops for literary English Books, Gaite Froge's English Bookshop on the Rue de Seine,, which had a gallery in the basement, often featuring Rubington's paintings. When Rubington finally decided to return to America in the early 1970s, Gaite Froge sold her bookshop to follow him, later tried to recover it, failed and eventually became a freelance editor in New York, where she died three years ago. As her bookshop was the logical successor to Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co, there are various projects to produce as book about this central venue of this Anglo-American centre for the avante-garde of the late Fifties and Sixties.
Rubington was one of the founders of the Olympia list and remained a loyal friend to Girodias until he died last summer. I last saw him at a memorial dinner for Girodias in New York shortly after. A gentle, kind man. he was certainly one of the characters who held the expatriate group together during the period which we think of as the heyday of existentialist Paris. He died shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve from a heart attack when calling on Girodias's widow with a bottle of rum to help her cold.
John Calder
Norman Rubington, artist and writer, born New Haven (sic) Connecticut 20 June 1921, died New York 1 January 1991.

POINTS and other small literary journals that were active in Paris in the late 1940s and early 1950s depended on the English bookshops to carry their journals.  The page below from an early issue of The Paris Review lists the popular bookshops, restaurants and cafes in the Latin Quarter where many of these small publishers located their offices.

LIBRAIRIE MISTRAL at 37, rue de la Bûcherie and ENGLISH BOOKSHOP at 42, rue de Seine were known to be reliable sources for the current issue of POINTS and other small literary journals.

LE TOURNON  at 18, rue de Tournon was a popular watering hole for artists and writers.  The photo below catches a gathering of friends who were active in the small journal community in the early 1950s.

Writers and editors from the Paris Review and Merlin, outside the Cafe de Tournon, 1953.
Front row, from left: Wilma Howard, Jane Lougee, Muffie Wainhouse, Jean Garrigue.
Second Row: Christopher Logue, Niccolo Tucci (in the white raincoat), unknown woman, Peter Huyn, Alfred Chester, Austryn Wainhouse.
Third Row; Richard Seaver (over Logue's shoulder), Evan S. Connell, Michel van der Plats, James Broughton, William Gardner Smith, Harold Witt.
Back row: Eugene Walter, George Plimpton (in hat), William Pene du Bois.
(Photo © Otto van Noppen)

Sindbad Vail would note in his editor’s introduction to POINTS 15 that MERLIN had emerged on the literary scene (two issues) and that THE PARIS REVIEW was to be launched shortly.  The back pages of POINTS 15 would carry ads for both journals.

Austryn Wainhouse had pieces published in POINTS 11/12 and would also have a short story published in POINTS 18. Christopher Logue would have works published in POINTS 17 and 19. William Pene du Bois’ wife, Jane, was a regular contributor to the book review section of POINTS. Richard Seaver was an early champion of Samuel Beckett and would also have his critique of Ernest Hemingway published in POINTS !8.  Later in his career he would become an editor at Grove Press in New York where he published many of the authors he cultivated in Paris during the 1950s including Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Eugene Ionesco.  The one person missing from the above photo is Alexander Trocchi who was the co-editor of MERLIN who would also have his short stories published in POINTS 17 and 19.


Saturday, April 7, 2012


POINTS 14 appeared in the summer of 1952.  Readers who have been following this blog from the beginning will notice that issues one through seven featured pale yellow covers with the title printed in various colors.  This changed with POINTS 9 that had a pale blue cover and then POINTS 10 that sported a bright red cover whose ink unfortunately had not dried completely when issues went out to distributors with many readers writing in to complain of smudges, etc.  POINTS 11/12 and POINTS 13 both had covers in the blue family.  POINTS 14 returned to the familiar yellow cover with the title text printed in a deep red color. 



Another POINTS (No. 14) is out in mid summer as promised. We feet quite smug.

This number is, we think, as interesting and varied as its predecessors. Again we have published writers from all over the world; Ireland, England, France, the U.S. and New Zealand are represented. We have given our favourite D. Jon Grossman a week earned rest, but it is hoped that he will re-appear in a future number.  Instead we have discovered a really "young" writer in Matthew Mugg who is not yet fifteen years old.

The book review section this time is unfortunately shorter than usual. Less interesting books hove been sent to us than usual, but that is more or less to be expected in summer. We hope that Miss Jane Pene du Bois will remain our main book reviewer. We consider her reviews to be extremely fair, and we can vouch for the meticulous care and hard work she puts into them.

In spite of M. Pinay's (present French Premier) much heralded "Defense or the Franc" program our printing prices continue to rise slightly, yet we are keeping the price of the magazine the same. We shall do our best not to augment it, but to do that more subscriptions would be more than welcome.                    

It is with great sorrow that we heard of Mr. Eugene Jolas' death. Mr. Jolas will long be remembered as the editor of the best pre-war little magazine to be published either in Europe or America namely, transition where the best writers of two continental first appeared.  It has always been the secret ambition of all little magazines to emulate transition and attain some of its success and fame. We wish to express our deep sympathy to Mr. Jolas' family for their great loss.

The next number of POINTS will appear some time in early autumn. The "staff" is taking a summer holiday and an exact date cannot yet be fixed for No. 15.

Again we remind readers that we more than want letters on their opinions, bad or good of the magazine. As one reader wrote us, one is apt to feel that one is publishing in a vacuum without a goodly number of them.


Kenneth L. Beaudoin's Dauphin Island Fantasy reached us just as this number of POINTS was going to press. While in general we don't print long poems, room had to be made for this one, so we squeezed out a couple of items in order to be able to fit the Fantasy in.

"What I have tried to do in it", Beaudoin writes, "is make a poem which starts right at your lips, you might say, and then takes a long symbolic journey inside of you; and then you come out, you who are the reader and I who am the writer changed, and walk around… not quite conscious like someone remembering his childhood...

Dauphin Island Fantasy is the best poem by a young poet that I have yet seen. Beaudoin is in full control of his language, knows what he wants to say. and says it right. The poem is, to my mind, one of the three or four really valid works of art that POINTS has printed. Such work as this justifies the existence of a little
magazine. I think POINTS can be proud of itself, and our readers will, I think, be grateful to us, for publishing this very important poem by a very important young poet.



Sindbad VAIL / D. Jon GROSSMAN – Notes by the Editors
Kenneth L. BEAUDOIN – Dauphin Island Fantasy
Paul KAHN – Le Hazard est aveugle
John Henrik CLARKE – The Betrayal
Gérard LANBILLY – Cataclysme
Tom FURLONG – When My Grandfather Died
O. E. MIDDLETON – Why The Willow Was
Edmond PASZE – Combat avec la langueur
Emilie GLEN – Peter Is Coming
Matthew MUGG – Notes And Comment: Barryism
Michael JOHNSON – Book Review: The Brigand
Jane Pene du BOIS – Book Review: The Man Who Went Away
Jane Pene du BOIS – Book Review: The Poor In Spirit

Jane Pene du Bois, who Sindbad Vail praised in his opening notes, was married to William Pene du Bois who became the Art Editor for The Paris Review that would be launched in 1953.  William Pene du Bois designed the mast head for the journal, shown below,

and the line drawing of Place de la Concorde, both images © The Paris Review, All Rights Reserved.

THE MAN WHO WENT AWAY. by Themistocles HOETIS, Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1952.

In "The Man Who Went Away". Themistocles Hoetis presents the sometimes poignant story of a young woman. Akin Arahk bereft of her lover.

Akin is an oboe player who casually becomes acquainted with Alex, a confused and self-centered student.  It is the break-up of their subsequent affair which constitutes the main thread of this story.

The first and last two paragraphs of the book are the same, the chain of events in the intervening pages are revealed in Akin's melancholy thoughts as she dreamily executes on her oboe a concerto she has composed for Alex.

After having led her to believe that they would someday soon leave together for Europe—"This country is not for us—we don't belong here. Let's leave it.  Let's go far away"—Alex departs wordlessly and alone for Bordeaux. There follows an exchange of letters (to my way of thinking the best part of the book). Akin's, wistful, searching, and finally exasperated. Alex's are little more than travelogues containing certain guiltless and unsatisfactory explanations of his behaviour and dubious promises of sending for her when he will have found himself (a lovely excuse).

Akin arrives at the painful knowledge that Alex does not at all love her when he disclaims all responsibility towards the child she is going to bear him. Akin writes a disgusted final letter to Alex, and, full of resolve, visits several friends in town who may help her to find work.   Among the people she sees are Peter Giorgios, Alex's sloppy and affectionate cousin, arid through him meets a remarkably sinister art patron named Ludwig von Riefenbach, and finally fleeing from his debilitating influence, stays the night with a taxi cab driver friend of hers. At the conclusion of this useless time in town, all resolve fled from her, Akin is alone.

The story, very slight in itself, is told with a minimum of descriptive detail, which tends to give the book and all of the characters therein, especially the central figure of the girl, a queer blankness,  It is really only in her appeals to Alex in her letters that Akin comes to life. As for that guilty protagonist Alex, he is well drawn as a consistently egoistic and irresponsible youth, typical enough of the times, but one feels little sympathy for him.

The girl's visit chez von Riefenbach is probably as out-of-this-worid as the author meant it to be, and here, in order to do it full justice, Hoetis temporarily abandons the willy-nilly emptiness and goes into a fine bit of detail and von Riefenbach together with his very personal house emerge with clarity.

However, with the episode involving the taxi driver, the story collapses a little. Akin, who in spite of everything seemed rather pure, is suddenly a commonplace creature. Moreover the taxi driver himself is not convincing and this passage seems particularly pointless.

A redeeming bit follows immediately upon Akin's return, from the city when, hope momentarily revived, she falls upon a letter she thinks is from Alex. It is not, and here on these last pages, Akin's aloneness and despair are touching.

Themistocles Hoetis is trying fro tell on old story in a new way, one cannot blame him for that. but the style he has developed is necessarily arty and the flashback system he employs is more confusing that it ought to be.

THE POOR IN SPIRIT, by Otto FRIEDRICH. Little Brown & C.,1952,

This is a love story, in no way usual, of a weeks' duration.  It takes place in the Berlin of 1947, "The Poor in Spirit" is an excellent name for it, for the two principals (there is scarcely anyone else in the book beyond the almost dismissed other loves of each, and the living ghost of a repellent old woman) are spiritless victims of happenstance.

He—Paul Stein, thirty eight years old, American, is a press attache for the U.S. occupational forces. She—Magdelena Rilke. is a necessarily unknown quantity, a German girl alternately passive and fierce.

From their first meeting at the opera they drift through a series of un-gay walks and meals together while he—more than she—struggles for some sort of definitive rapport.  It is never achieved, although they do become lovers. Stein is disheartened by her impassioned account of the one man she really did love, a dead Nazi pilot who was so bent on aimless destruction he was shot down by his own people.   Magdalena in her turn is unmoved by Stein's rather less interesting former love story which, however, provides telling insight into his childish nature. For Stein does not know what he wants. He is dissatisfied with himself, but his analytical powers directed cruelly against himself are useless, he has no remedy.

For a week Stein is painfully smitten with the enigmatic Magdalena and is at the end of it, as suddenly, un-smitten. The end of their relationship is coincidental with an awkward meeting with the girl's ragbag grandmother, and with his subsequent leaving of Berlin.

Otto Friedrich, for all that he is extremely young, writes very well. This is his first published novel, bur he has written three others. He is an analogist, and allows himself to be helped along by Stein who also has a tendency to analogize.  But neither of them ever descend to the level of mere long-windedness, and Stein does not lose his identity at any time.

Magdalena is a baffling personality, and does not come off as well as Stein. Nor is she meant to, she puzzles Stein as she does the reader. For the rest, the heavy, sick, and lawless atmosphere of a ruined city is well represented. One feels the joylessness of living in such a city, for the conquerors almost as much as for the conquered.

Jane PENE du BOIS.