Peter Pan Chronicles

Charles Frye, Author University of Virginia Press $16.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8139-1223-3
Ray Parker, confined to an insane asylum, has trouble deciding just who and where he is. The faces and voices of nurses and guards transform into those of key people from his past, particularly his late friend Tommy Rollins, a black activist. Rollins worked hard for the black liberation movement in the '60s, as excerpts from his journal as well as Parker's unreliable memories suggest. According to Parker's recollections, which often resemble drug-induced hallucinations, Rollins was betrayed by Parker, also black, then an agent provocateur serving the so-called ``Intelligence Community''--the FBI, CIA, etc. Parker also lived in Rollins's house, slept with his woman and, some thought, killed him. This disjoint string of bizarre episodes and nightmarish flashbacks obscures both the plot and Frye's ideological underpinnings. Even the imagery is fragmented: various body parts are vividly described as they are severed from their owners, and characters' names allude heavily although obliquely to jazz figures (e.g., Ray Charles, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins). This first novel is extremely political, but so muddled that its specific agenda never emerges. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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