Books: Nerve War in the Caribbean

LIANA—Martha Gellhorn—Scribner ($2.50).

In wartime, character is a military objective. In modern fiction, many a character succumbs to the stratagems of those who wage the ceaseless, ruthless war of nerves.

Novelist Martha Gellhorn (Mrs. Ernest Hemingway) is no political novice. She knows how individuals are tormented, twisted, their weaknesses exploited, their characters warped; she knows how often and how subtly their aspirations are distorted and their hopes destroyed. But even in a novel as neatly executed as Liana she does not manage to grain her political understanding into the narrative details. In...

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