David Caute

Start Free Trial

Simon Raven

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 222

David Caute, inspired by a spell of National Service in West Africa, has come up with a first novel which, if it attempts far too much, is none the less striking for what it achieves. At Fever Pitch is the tale of a young subaltern serving with a native regiment in an African Colony which is on the verge of independence. The subaltern's sex life is a mess…. All of which, one would have thought, would have kept one young novelist quite busy enough. But Mr. Caute also takes on the political situation in the colony—not just as a background, but as a subject for full investigation—and takes it on with considerable virtuosity at that. He thus has two major themes; and one can fairly say that his handling of both is vigorous, intelligent and keen. For a relatively short novel, however, At Fever Pitch is overloaded: there just is not enough room for either element, sex or intrigue, to be finally and properly worked out. So we end up in rather a muddle. But when I think of some of the wafer-thin confections now masquerading as novels, I bless the name of Caute for this generous first offering.

Simon Raven, "Kinds of Contraband," in The Spectator (© 1959 by The Spectator; reprinted by permission of The Spectator), Vol. 202, No. 6815, February 6, 1959, p. 199.∗

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access



The Times Literary Supplement