Zone of Fire

Conrad Detrez, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $17.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-15-199989-7
Detrez (A Weed for Burning tempts the reader with apocalyptic prose ripe with imaginative metaphors, but his picaresque, unfocused, episodic plot ultimately fails to satisfy. The distant narrator (""You're not here to get involved in conspiracies, or to reform the world, or to change your sex, or to alter God's nature'') is a French scientist who visits Nicaragua on the eve of the Sandinista revolution to study the volatile ``zone of fire,'' or volcanic region, which is, of course, an omnipresent natural symbol of the Central American country. He befriends rebels, particularly the homosexual Abel, whose experiences frame the story and whose irreconcilable relationship with his brother, Alvaro, is not unlike that of the biblical Abel. Although descriptions of the desperation, chaos and futility of revolution, the squalor of Managua and the degradation of the country's women are vivid, the characters and their motivations are disappointingly obscure. (October 21)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Genre: Fiction
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