A Rendezvous in Haiti

Stephen Becker, Author
Stephen Becker, Author W. W. Norton & Company $14.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-393-02367-1
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
This slim, powerful tale places Becker (The Chinese Bandit, The Blue-Eyed Shan firmly in the tradition of Conrad, Greene and le Carre. Lt. Robert MacAllister of the U.S. Marines is in Haiti in 1919 to help quell a peasant revolution led by the black leader Martel. Caroline Barbour, a colonel's daughter in love with MacAllister, is kidnapped by Martel's white military leader, Blanchard, who reveals himself and his past to her on their long journey to Martel's village. MacAllister also is traveling to the village, led by the black priest Scarron. Convinced that Blanchard is dangerous to his efforts, Martel agrees to let MacAllister murder the white revolutionary and take the girl back to Port-au-Prince. Both Blanchard and Martel are killed, while Caroline is left unharmed but not untoucheda condition Becker's readers will share. As vivid and steamy as the climate of Haiti, this tale stakes out its true domain in the landscape of the soul. With stunning clarity, Becker examines his characters' shifting emotional allegiances as the yawning chasms between powerful and powerless, black and white, civilized and primitive, are bridged in a network of individual attachments and understandings. (June 29)
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