The Rose Crossing

Nicholas Jose, Author Overlook Press $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-87951-673-4
East and West meet on an undiscovered island in the Indian Ocean in this lush, fatalistic second novel (after The Avenue of Eternal Peace) from Jose, an Australian. Off the African coast, a shipwreck strands English horticulturist Edward Popple, his daughter, Rosamund, and a sailor. Unbeknownst to them, the island harbors other refugees: Taizao, a seemingly impotent exiled Chinese prince; Lou Lu, an elderly eunuch who serves as Taizao's guardian; and the crew of their Chinese ship. After some initial misunderstandings, the two groups join forces to try to escape the island. From the start, it's clear that this isn't a standard historical adventure. The prose is ripe, laden with a sense of the forbidden, and with doom. Popple craves his daughter, noting how, while on horseback, ""hot rosy pulses from the riding flushed her skin."" When Rosamund awakens the prince's sexuality, it's by urinating in front of him. And when the narrative darkens into suffering and tragedy, it's jarring but no surprise, like a thunderstorm at the end of a hot and humid day. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-87951-797-7
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-0-241-00286-5
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4683-0200-4
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