B. Traven, Author, Hugh Young, Translator Ivan R. Dee Publisher $22.5 (270p) ISBN 978-1-56663-044-3
Best known for his adventure classic The Treasure of Sierra Madre , the mysterious Traven (1890-1969), who wrote in German but was probably American-born, also created a six-volume series of Jungle Novels about the Mexican Revolution, of which this is the fourth installment. Never before translated into English, it displays the author's customary disdain for authority and sympathy for the oppressed while painting a devastating, painfully detailed picture of conditions on a mahogany plantation in the southern province of Chiapas. The vicious Montellano brothers, a trio of Spaniards who are not really related, take over the plantation and begin brutalizing the workers, among them Andres Ugaldo, a young Indian with a growing sense of self-worth; Celso Flores, a skilled, experienced slave laborer whom even the cruel overseers dare not push too far; and Vincente, a mere boy forced to do a man's work to pay his family's debts. Meanwhile, a mysterious singer in the darkness hints of the revolution to come. Not for everyone, and more a long narrative episode than a conventional story with a resolution, this nonetheless offers a fascinating look at a terrible place and time. Over the next two years, Dee will issue paperback editions of the other five Jungle Novels. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 02/01/1994
Paperback - 269 pages - 978-1-56663-219-5
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