The Coconut Book

Richard Maynard, Author Grove Press $7.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-394-55300-9
Maynard's first novel, already acclaimed in England, is an impressive debut. It is a haunting psychological version of Robinson Crusoe that captures the trials of a man in isolation, fighting to survive physically and mentally on a sandy, barrensave for seven coconut treesisland in the South Pacific. We are never told his name, his age or even what he looks like beyond the sketchiest clues. The narrative is, in fact, a story within a story, for the enigma of the castaway is brought to light when a coconut containing a written account of his ordeal is discovered by vacationers who search for him unsuccessfully. The diary represents this modern-day Crusoe's attempt to keep his sanity. Visited by people he once knew, he realizes they are hallucinations but nonetheless discusses philosophy with them. He stretches himself, having to improvise implements to stay alive. When he runs out of paper, we understand he has also reached the end of his mental tether. In terse, understated prose, Maynard grippingly evokes the loneliness, fear and mounting despair of a man isolated from the human community. (October 20)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Open Ebook - 100 pages - 978-0-285-64124-2
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