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The Dark Arena

By (author) Mario Puzo
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Cornerstone, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: William Heinemann Ltd
Published: 11th Oct 1971
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
ISBN-10: 0434604925
ISBN-13: 9780434604920
Barcode No: 9780434604920

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Kirkus US
A book that shocks one to the fibre of one's being. Did it have to be written? Or if written published? In comparison the shock techniques of The Naked and the Dead and From Here to Eternity seem pallid. At least there was humorous relief, there were redeeming characteristics in some of the men, there were evidences of humanity. In The Dark Arena the picture of occupation forces, military and civilian, seems to indicate that all are tarred with the brush of self seeking, cruelty, barbarity, indifference to human suffering, the vices of the conquerors, the cupidity of the thwarted, the sadism of those whom suffering has scarred. The central figure, Mosca, comes home to a rejoicing family, to the fiances who had waited out his years of war. He turns against them, taking pleasure in hurting them - and goes back to Germany, in a civilian post. Back, too, to Hella, the German girl who had born and lost his child. He takes her on again, but even when he could apply for marriage papers, puts it off. They have another child- and still the papers are not ready. This time an officer he had insulted is holding them up. Mosca cushions his pay with black market operations, battening on the fears of the Germans. But when he feels his security threatened he deserts his partner in crime. In the end, his betrayals of all human compassion catch up with him; he is tricked with bad drugs when Hells is ill; he kills the man who has fooled him, cost Hella her life; he deserts his unwanted son; and he walks out on everything, going underground in a hostile land. The story is there to be told unpalatable as it is. But the sneering characterization at every level, the filthy language, the presumption that there was no decency anywhere- (except perhaps in Hella, the German girl), leaves a bad taste- a sense of profound shock. (Kirkus Reviews)