On the River Styx and Other Stories

Peter Matthiessen, Author, Becky Saletan, Editor
Peter Matthiessen, Author, Becky Saletan, Editor Random House (NY) $17.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-394-55399-3
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
In these powerful stories, explorer-novelist Matthiessen ( Far Tortuga ; The Snow Leopard ) creates people trapped in set behavior patterns that no longer make sense, like the burned-out CIA agent in ``Lumumba Lives'' who returns to his childhood house in upstate New York and takes up duck shooting, or the contract hunter in ``The Wolves of Aguila,'' a Navajo who realizes that with each random kill he is destroying the wild terrain that sustains him. Actions have unforeseen consequences in a number of these 10 tales: a young female attendant's campaign to secure an inmate's release from a mental hospital only makes things worse for the shrapnel-deranged war vet; a white, liberal couple on vacation in a Florida fishing town trigger a racial ruckus when the husband befriends a black boatman. Matthiessen's empathy for lost adventurers, uprooted citizens of the world, shines through in the exotic, amusing ``Horse Latitudes,'' which pits an uppity Baptist missionary against a seasick Lebanese merchant on a British freighter bound for Haiti. In limpid, lyrical prose, these dazzling stories objectively explore the lack of communication between husbands and wives, between races and cultures. (Apr.)
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