An American Story

Jacques Godbout, Author, Yves Saint-Pierre, Translator
Jacques Godbout, Author, Yves Saint-Pierre, Translator University of Minnesota Press $19.95 (161p) ISBN 978-0-8166-1709-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Famine in Ethiopia, illegal American intervention in Nicaragua, activists assassinated by the FBIonly politically ``correct'' issues are examined in this unsubtle novel by a leading Quebecois writer. Gregory Francoeur, a Canadian scholar who has come to Berkeley to undertake a study of happiness, has been, by the outset of this story, jailed on trumped-up charges and advised by the prosecutor to write down his version of the events leading to his arrest. Journal entries are interspersed with descriptive passages in a fashion that is more disruptive than suspenseful, a problem compounded by the curiously leaden quality of the prose: `` `Is prison writing,' he wondered, `always escapist literature?' '' Leaving little to possible misinterpretation, Godbout's characters bear blatantly symbolic names: Allan Hunger aids Third World causes; Francoeur (Openhearted) almost reflexively embraces the underdog. The simplistic struggling of good guys against bad guys will fail to satisfy the reader. (September)
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