Books: Teutonic. Nightmare

THE CANNIBAL (223 pp.)—John Hawkes —New Directions ($1.50).

Anybody with an ambition to write the strangest novel of 1950 will have to beat John Hawkes's first novel, The Cannibal. Written by Harvardman Hawkes at 23, The Cannibal is a dizzying surrealist vision of postwar Germany, in which, among other oddities, a monkey screams "Dark is life, dark, dark is death," a duke hacks a fox to death and invites his landlady to dine on the meat, and one-third of Germany is ruled by a solitary American G.I.

At first glance the story seems a freakish flight into simple lunacy, but once all expectations...

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