Rice Wine

Barry Came, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $0 (255p) ISBN 978-1-55584-036-5
In this potentially intriguing, but not quite successful, first novel about the struggle over a proposed dam to be built in the Marcos-era Philippines, former Newsweek correspondent Came owes a debt to Robert Stone whose A Flag for Sunrise also features a well-intentioned American over his head in a third-world country, a cruel military man and a progressive member of the Catholic clergy. Came makes his own point, but he draws his lines too neatly. Paul Stenmark is sent by a Washington agency to a farming area of Luzon, inhabited by tribes of former headhunters, to determine whether to fund a dam project. Father Frank Enright opposes the dam; so does village elder Alfredo Dantog. The murderous Lt. Col. Ricardo Rosales wants to make sure it goes through. Came is excellent at evoking the ferocity of the monsoons and typhoons that batter these mountains, and good at making clear the terror and unpredictability of battle. But he hugs his characters so tightly that the drama of their situation cannot carry them where it must and allows the naive Paul to be too easily chastened. (February)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 978-0-517-07956-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-877961-31-1
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