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McDougall, Colin.

Toronto, Macmillan. 1988. 228pp. paper. $5.95, ISBN 0-7715-9280-9. (The Macmillan Paperback series #32). CIP

Reviewed by E. Robson

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

This winner of the 1958 Governor General's Award for fiction has been reissued in an attractive new paperback edition. The author fought with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry during World War II in Sicily and at Monte Cassino in the Italian campaign.

McDougall uses the vocabulary of war, weapons and military procedures to illustrate the absurdity of war. This novel follows everyone from brigadier to private but focuses on Lieutenant Adam and Padre Doom, although there is little character development. The story begins with the execution of two Italian deserters and ends with the execution of Jonesy, a mentally deficient private. The episodic development, with the input of a little romance and adventure, leaves the reader upset by the carnage, destruction and stupidity of war.

Although A Reader's Guide to the Canadian Novel* classifies this book as one with a moral vision or significant moral concern. McDougall has not made any specific judgments. Rather, he appears fascinated with the effect war can have. The author has also written short stories but they are difficult to research in any of the traditional literary references. Students working on a war theme for independent study for a Canadian history or literature course would find this documentary record of World War II easy to read.

E. Robson, Winston Churchill Collegiate Institute, Scarborough, Ont.

*Reviewed vol. XV/6 November 1987 p.236.

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