Hiroshima Joe

Martin Booth, Author Grove/Atlantic $17.95 (442p) ISBN 978-0-87113-056-3
Joe Sandingham, in his halcyon days a British army officer, now scrounges food in the seedy Hong Kong hotel where he lives, steals and runs errands for Leung, a sinister drug dealer and racketeer, to support his drink and dope habits. A ruined heap striving for some sliver of dignity, his only friend a Chinese prostitute, Joe is tormented by memories of World War II, of his lover Bob who died in combat, of his long ordeal as a prisoner of the Japanese. The narrative shifts back and forth between time present (1952) and the war years, accumulating brutal detail and scourging event; the POW period culminating in the cataclysm at Hiroshima, hard by his prison camp. Hounded by Leung's murderous henchmen, dying of radiation sickness, Joe finally achieves a kind of victory by hanging himself. After some narrative awkwardness, Booth is able to fashion a moving drama from the cruelties and pathologies of modern warfareand some moral meaning from the terrible travail of a man who survived, and even transcended it. 40,000 first printing; $50,000 promo; paperback rights to Viking Penguin. (April 29)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Paperback - 441 pages - 978-0-14-009730-6
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-0-09-162770-6
Hardcover - 441 pages - 978-0-7126-1014-8
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-5398-0
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