Something about a Soldier is considered by some critics to be Mark Harris's finest novel. The wacky characters and situations are clothed in a trenchant language that says everything Harris wants to say while retaining the purity and simplicity of a fable. The hero is Private Jacob Epp (changed from Epstein), seventeen, from Perkinsville, New York. In 1944 he enters the army and arrives for basic training in Georgia with his Soldier's Handbook and a virginal social conscience. Exposed to racial discrimination and poverty, he becomes a social activist, even flirts briefly with communism. He meets Jolene, a countergirl in the PX, who urges him to embrace her, a warmer object for his love than any abstraction. How Private Epp is saved from death for love is a nutty, ingenious story that the reader won't be able to resist.