The Fence-walker

By William Holinger

Subjects: Fiction
Paperback : 9781438451527, 290 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780887060243, 290 pages, June 1985

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"The Fence-walker is a fascinating fusion of traditional virtues of craft and up-to-the minute contemporary themes. William Holinger presents us with a rare drama set in the 'Second' Theatre—Korea, right up on the DMZ—during the midst of the Vietnam War. It's a social drama that boils up with a heat only a 'cold' war can, paradoxically, generate, and a psychic drama as well, that of the education of his young lieutenant Richardson, the fence-walker of the title. The barrier Richardson patrols so dutifully divides North and South Korea, communist and capitalist values, but it stands too, as Holinger develops his plot—and his metaphor—between innocence and experience, son and father, Eastern culture and Western, love and hate, life and death. I don't know of another military novel set in a time of hostilities below the threshold of war that uses the naturalistic details of army life as cunningly as Holinger's, not since, maybe, Styron's The Long March, perhaps, not since James Jones's The Pistol. Attention, troopers, read this novel at once." — Alan Cheuse, author of The Bohemians and The Grandmother's Club