Good Republic

William Palmer, Author, Diana Palmer, Author Viking Books $19.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-670-83571-3
Current events in the Soviet Union make this accomplished, evocative first novel very timely and curiously believable. Jacob Balthus, an elderly London exile who dabbles ineffectually in emigre politics, is invited back to his Baltic homeland, its dreams of liberation suddenly--it seems--at hand. Balthus remembers his Good Republic as ``a small place . . . ruled by the good, leading a charmed life . . . between mad giants.'' But Balthus is a weak man at the center of epochal events, and as the story develops it is clear that he is the one who has led a charmed life while his homeland was raped, first by Germans, then by Russians. Palmer is an established poet and storyteller, and some of his descriptive passages--of a boat trip through the Baltic islets, of a forest bird frozen in its nest--are gems. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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