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Customer Review

on November 29, 2010
This is the third in a loosely related trilogy that began with "From Here to Eternity", about the pre WW2 army in Hawaii, continued with "The Thin Red Line" based on the authors combat experieneces in the war, and now this, the soldier home in the post war period. Jones leading characters seem to do better in the army where they seem to have a love/hate relationship with the structure and authority of military life. They hate it, but it seems to give life meaning. Now discharged, Jones protagonist is a renown playwright who deals with a relationship and, in Hemingway-esque fashion, becomes a skin diver in some sort of search for courage, or lack thereof.
This is a re-read for me, having first encountered Jones in the 60's when I read all of his works. I was disappointed this time, as I remember this as an engaging piece. It seems to me that Jones needs war or at least the miliatry, and without it he, and his character go adrift.
I must go back to his earlier books, as much in "Widowmaker" seems to harken back to them. I would recommend leaving this one for last and start with "Eternity." I can't help comparing Jones with Mailer, and "Eternity" with "Naked and the Dead." Mailer wrote a number of great novels and garnered at least one Pulitzer after his huge success with "Naked," but in my estimation was never able to capture what he did in depicting a group of young Americans in war. I feel Jones followed a similar path.
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