Love and Infamy: 2a Novel of Pearl Harbor

Frank Deford, Author Viking Books $24 (576p) ISBN 978-0-670-82995-8
Highly regarded sportswriter ( Everybody's All American ) and author of an affecting chronicle of his daughter's death ( Alex ), Deford debuts as a novelist with an engrossing story of political and personal intrigue that takes place in Japan before and during WW II, and that contrasts the irreconcilable gulf between cultures with the unbreakable bonds of love and friendship. In 1940, Japanese-born, Yale-educated Cotton Drake returns to his birthplace as a rookie Episcopal missionary. There he is briefly reunited with his lifelong friend, Harvard alumnus Kiyoshi Okuno, on leave from his job in Hawaii to marry Miyuki, sister of a mutual childhood friend, Takeo Serikawa, who as leader of a failed mutiny has committed seppuku . Soon afterward, Kiyoshi is sent back to Honolulu as a spy to facilitate Admiral Yamamoto's attack on the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. Cotton, suspecting treachery and in turmoil over his own feelings for Miyuki, is inexorably drawn into the intrigue as both he and Kiyoshi become morally compromised by acts they perform in the name of patriotism. Right up to the surprising and suspenseful climax, the book rings with historical authenticity and vivid descriptions of exotic landscapes and Shinto ritual. There are sharp portraits of historical characters: Admiral Yamamoto, for instance, never sounds more believable than when he's using baseball as a metaphor for Japanese-American relations. The real coup is that, despite an oft-used setting, Deford has created fresh characters and a consistently captivating story of romance, politics and the clash of two cultures. 35,000 first printing; author tour. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1993
Release date: 12/01/1993
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