Amid the rubble of San Francisco's 1906 earthquake, Max Kosegarten, the narrator of this lyrical first novel, becomes the inseparable boyhood friend of Duncan Taqdir, son of a Persian sculptor and an English archeologist. Set mainly in 1914-1916 and told in diary-like entries interspersed with 36 brooding illustrations by the author, the story follows the boys as they become lovers, ultimately separated by college and a tragic accident. Together they explore California's woods, beaches and mountains, and search for evidence of the earthquake that brought them together. Their excavations as well as Max's reading of Ruskin and Cicero, point to this sensitive novel's motif: how memory accretes into character and shapes perception. Another theme is a teen's acceptance of his homosexuality. Max's perky, self-absorbed mother, who is having an affair with Duncan's father, is sharply drawn. Letters from Max's uncle, serving on a hellish front in WW I, add period flavor. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990 Release date: 08/01/1990 Genre: Fiction
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