Books: Atrocities

FAMOUS LAST WORDS by Timothy Findley Delacorte; 396 pages; $14.95

The odor of death hangs heavy over Ezra Pound's garden in Rapallo, Italy, during the fateful March of 1945. As he awaits the advance of the U.S. Army and his arrest for making treasonous broadcasts, the mad poet bids a venomous farewell to "poor old Hugh Selwyn Mauberley—arse-eyed traitor to the whole world!" Indeed, the fleeing Mauberley presents a threat to both Axis and Allies: he has seen atrocities on both sides and he is ready to bear witness.

So begins Canadian Timothy Findley's fourth...