IN THE REVIEW

Alien

The Fifth Child

by Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing’s terse and chilling novella is not recommended for the maternity ward. It may stir up deep-rooted fears in men as well as women, in sons as well as mothers. It is a tale of a mother who cannot love her son. Harriet fears Ben, even when he is …

The Power of Positive Trotskyism

Standing Fast

by Harvey Swados
Standing Fast is a long, common-sensical chronicle of the lives of a score of American socialists over twenty-four years, from the Hitler-Stalin pact to the death of J.F. Kennedy. It could form the basis for several Stanley Kramer films, offering parts for performers like Henry Fonda, Arthur Kennedy, Eva-Marie Saint, …

Divided Selves

Maltaverne

by François Mauriac, translated by Jean Stewart

The Driver's Seat

by Muriel Spark
Youth from the past. Un adolescent d’autrefois was the original title of Maltaverne which Mauriac published in 1969, when he was eighty-three, a year before his death. For the last thirty years of his life he had written very little fiction, preferring to concentrate on essays and perhaps ephemeral political …

Pow! Now

1968

by Richard Stern

The File on Stanley Patton Buchta

by Irvin Faust
In one of Richard Stern’s seven tales which, with two essays, make up 1968, there is a man called McCoshan, “a gentleman out of sympathy with the times,” who drops ideas, large generalizations, at breakfast-time, when he “uncovers for his wife the terrible configurations beneath the newspaper facts.” This is …

Live Attraction

The Joke

by Milan Kundera, translated by David Hamblyn, translated by Oliver Stallybrass

The Tongues of Men

by John Schultz
When a first-rate novel comes to us from Communist Europe, we do not want it sterilized and packaged: we want it raw. Last year, the Czechoslovakian author of The Joke wrote from Prague to the London Times Literary Supplement, protesting that his British publisher had “broken up” the novel, cutting …