Books: End of a World

WORLD WITHOUT VISA [499 pp.]—Jean Malaquais, translated by Peter Grant —Doubleday ($3.75).

When France fell to the Nazis, thousands of stateless and homeless Europeans fled to Marseille, there to dream of visas to freedom that most were never to get. In this lecherous and filthy port, where men squirmed on the precipice of hysteria and a knock on the door might be a Vichyite summons to an internment camp, the agony of Europe was, for one delirious historical moment, crammed into a few square miles.

This is the setting that Jean Malaquais has chosen for his huge and exciting novel about "shamed and...

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