The Eighth Continent: Tales of the Foreign Service

Philip Gould, Author Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill $17.95 (246p) ISBN 978-0-945575-72-6
In brilliantly depicting the ``hazards and delusions of foreign service life,'' former government information officer Gould ( Kitty Collins ) assembles his three-part story around a theme of tragedy and retribution. In ``European Episode,'' press consul Charlie McKay is commencing his career in mid-1950s Munich when he falls for Caroline Draper, a young reporter. Caroline is in love with an older Polish nobleman, Stefan Z, whose memoirs she is helping write. When the Russians invade Hungary, Stefan, who is reputed to have saved Baltic Jews during WW II, abandons Caroline and disappears behind the Iron Curtain. ``The New People'' finds Caroline and Charlie married and living in India, where they encounter a hideously self-serving American couple, political officer Tony Greer and his wife. Tony's shrewd manipulations and lewd behavior result in tragedy for the U.S. consul general's family. During these dark events the McKays learn that the maharajaha of Chittipore had once known Stefan. Then an elderly European at one of the maharaja's gatherings suggests that Stefan might reappear. The mysterious Pole resumes a central role in the title story as Charlie pursues the identity of the maharaja's European guest. A powerful and haunting resolution ties together ``the many networks of people in this life.'' Gould handles exotic settings and nuanced character portrayal with impressive skill. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11452-0
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-595-09451-6
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