Ghost Dancing

James Magnuson, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-23041-4
Student radical hero Peter Gage died in Fargo in 1970 while trying to blow up a weapons plant, or so the newspapers said. Now, 17 years later, his father, Jeremiah, a Hollywood film director famed for violent spectacles, receives a cryptic message that leads him to believe Peter is still alive. For two-thirds of this quietly absorbing novel, suspense fails to build as Jeremiah scours the New Mexico brush country, questioning burned-out hippies for clues to his son's whereabouts. All of a sudden, Peter is found, and Gage suspects that his hardened fugitive son, now helping the Sanctuary movement to harbor Central American refugees, may be involved in one, possibly two, recent murders. Magnuson ( Money Mountain ) sensitively explores the reconciliation between father and son and the effect on Jeremiah's new family (he remarried after the death of Peter's emotionally disturbed mother). But the deck is stacked too neatly in this morality tale about violence and political dissent. ``I'm a walking allegory, I'm everything that was wrong with America, or right with it,'' Peter presumes in an easy formula seemingly endorsed by the author. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
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