Gilbert Rogin

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Ruth Brown

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The men Gilbert Rogin writes about in his first book, The Fencing Master and Other Stories …, for the most part go through the motions of life, but in a kind of permanent shock, haunted by an unfocused feeling of guilt about the past, astonished by the present, and traumatically blind to the future. Human relationships, above all, paralyze them: they live, as the wife in "Lesser Married" points out to her husband, in constant terror that contact with another will somehow "diminish" them….

In an understated, allusive style Mr. Rogin evokes the stunned bewilderment that visits most of us at times. But since his characters have little history and experience nothing beyond alternating numbness and fright, they lack flesh and bones, and wander like self-pitying ghosts from ignorance to ignorance….

Ruth Brown, "Nothing to Fear But Fear," in Saturday Review (copyright © 1965 by Saturday Review; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. 48, No. 31, July 31, 1965, p. 21.

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