Books: Existentialist Nightmare

THE SHORT CUT (302 pp.)—Ennio Flaiano—Pellegrini & Cudahy ($3).

Rotting corpses, noisome reminders of Mussolini's sordid victory, littered the Ethiopian bush. It was treacherous country at best, full of crocodiles and hostile tribesmen—certainly no place for an Ital ian soldier to go wandering. But the lieu tenant had a bad tooth. He had to get to an army dentist, and a short cut through the bush would cut his traveling time in half.

A couple of hours later the lieutenant realized that he was lost. Trying to retrace his steps, he came to a pool where a pretty native girl sat bathing herself—and...

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