HIS DARLING OLD PROVIDENCE
WILLIAM SAROYAN has written a novel evidently based on his experience in the Army. The Adventures of Wesley Jackson seems to be flavored with Huckleberry Finn, but, as a story of picaresque adventure, it has the novelty of exploiting the idea that Army life may be picaresque. The best things in it are such episodes as that in which the Colonel brings a newspaperman to interview "the ordinary soldier" on how he likes being in the Army, and the picture of the Hollywood directors and writers mobilized to do training documentaries. Mr. Saroyan is here at his strongest in showing the bewildered civilian inducted into his military role and drawing blank after blank as he submits to pointless indignities and finds himself shunted about from one post to another, at first disgruntled, then apathetic, learning how to play tricks on the system and only at moments prodded into spasms of mild rebellion, but uncontrollably shrinking and skulking whenever the realization is thrust on him that he is caught in a giant enterprise for the slaughter of other human beings.
It is a relief, after The Human Comedy, Saroyan previous novel, to read the first part of Wesley Jackson. In that earlier book (and film), which was written at a time when the author had no first-hand knowledge of