The Eight Corners of the World

Gordon Weaver, Author
Gordon Weaver, Author Chelsea Green Publishing Company $19.95 (382p) ISBN 978-0-930031-16-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Yoshinori Yamaguchi, the fast-talking hero of this episodic novel by the author of Count a Lonely Cadence , speaks in four tongueshis native Japanese, proper English, hipster slang and pidgin Yiddishand has at least as many identities. As teenaged Yosh, his love of all things American wins him a job as interpreter for a baseball team visiting Japan. As ``Gooch,'' he travels to America to become an exchange student at Oklahoma A & M until the outbreak of World War II. As the code-named Lt. Benshi, he spends the war making pro-Japanese propaganda movies with such titles as Down with the Stars & Stripes. And as Foto Joe Yamaguch, he makes his fortune as a film producer in postwar Japan. But despite its lively and often adventurous plot, Yamaguchi's tale is tedious, burdened with a ludicrous narrative voice, a repetitive melange of jokes, malapropisms, jive-talk and odd constructions that are often all but impenetrable: ``Thus it were I did build hustle nut, reet?'' By creating a character whose ever-peppy lingo is frequently at odds with his emotions and feelings, Weaver achieves a few strikingly dissonant passages, but more often, the effect is merely alienating. (October)
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