Under the Sun

Erik Jay, Author Peter Owen Publishers $24.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0654-6
The setting of this dry political novel is an unnamedand unremarkableAfrican nation caught up in a bloody civil conflict. The government terrorizes the populace in an attempt to root out indigenous support for secessionist rebels from the north. Starvation and misery are widespread. When an American doctor serving with the international Red Cross is shot to death outside his hospital compound, many blame the government's forces. Hoping to sort out different versions of the incident, a group of Western military officersacting as impartial human-rights monitorstravels to the scene. Enter John Peters, a member of the inspectors' group: one of those typically masculine heroes who make existential aimlessness an art. Peters is so cool that he doesn't even comment when a steward accidentally drenches him with boiling tea. Like Peters himself, the narrative is lazy and unfocused, frequently offering standard generalizations about Africa, its politics, inhabitants and climate. The author, said to be a senior diplomat, writes under a pseudonym; such a precaution hardly seems necessary, given the generic nature of the Africa he presents. Jay manages to trivialize an entire continent. (November 13)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
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