In the Labyrinth (novel)

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In the Labyrinth
IntheLabyrinth (novel).jpg
First edition (US)
Author John David Morley
Language English
Genre Fiction, Prison literature, , Philosophical
Publisher André Deutsch, The Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 212 pp (US edition)
ISBN 0-233-97978-6 (UK) ISBN 0-87113-070-X (US)

In the Labyrinth (1986) is a novel by John David Morley.


Based on months of taped conversation with its real-life protagonist,[1][2] In the Labyrinth is the fictionalized memoir of Hungarian-born, German businessman Josef Pallehner who, due to bureaucratic inertia and his own guilty conscience, gets lost for six years in a maze of eastern Czechoslovakian prisons in the wake of the Second World War.


"Morley's calm yet moving narrative is a fine tribute to a man who endured six years in prison because he lived at a time and place when borders — and his citizenship — changed at the instigation of governments," wrote Elisabeth Anderson in The Times.[3] "In the Labyrinth is marked by great elegance of style”, Carolyn See commented in The Los Angeles Times Book Review: “It continues traditions set by Kafka’s In the Penal Colony and CummingsThe Enormous Room.”[1] “The cumulative effect of reading John David Morley’s In The Labyrinth is heartbreak,” declared Gillian Greenwood in The Times: “The dispassionate, observant tone of the book gives great power to its sad and appalling testimony.”[2] "In the Labyrinth is stark and melancholy, the spectrum deliberately limited to wintry monotone," noted Robert Taylor in The Boston Globe' , adding that the narrative "combines elements of Kafka nightmare and the nether world of Dostoevsky's House of the Dead."[4] "When faction is as finely wrought, as articulate and principled as John David Morley's," judged Marese Murphy in The Irish Times, "it becomes a serious work of literature."[5]


  1. ^ a b ‘Ripping the Safety Net of Middle-Europe Nationality’, Carolyn See, The Los Angeles Times Book Review (July 14, 1986)
  2. ^ a b ‘Books: The Geography of Bleak New Worlds’, Gillian Greenwood, The Times (October 16, 1986)
  3. ^ 'False Arrest', Elisabeth Anderson, The Times (December 14, 1986)
  4. ^ 'Entering a Kafkaesque Precinct of Pain', Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe (July 23, 1986)
  5. ^ 'Stranger Than Faction', Marese Murphy, The Irish Times (January 10, 1987)

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