The year is 1945. The Second World War had just ended, laying waste to the old political order erected by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. In the eastern end of continental Europe, a country geographically encircled by two revisionist forcesNazi Germany and Communist Russiais reduced to a smoldering ruin.
The death this July of the novelist Juan Alonso constitutes a great loss to American letters and to me personally. I first met Juan Alonso more than forty years ago. I had just read his fourth novel, Althea (The Divorce of Adam and Eve), published by the Fiction Collective, and intended to review it. It seemed then (and still seems) the great novel of the 1970s I had been waiting for. That review was never published, but I did make a pilgrimage to Boston to meet him (as I recall) outside the Harvard Club.