cover image The Wake of the General Bliss

The Wake of the General Bliss

Edward G. Lueders. University of Utah Press, $0 (188pp) ISBN 978-0-87480-308-2

In February 1946, 4000 homesick, sex-starved GIs crammed aboard the U.S.S. General Bliss in mid-Pacific are cruising home from the Asian theater of war. Among them are three sergeants who performed as a jazz trio while stationed in India, and who now come together to reminisce about music, their wartime adventures, America, combat, women they had or wanted, and culture shock in the Far East. The threeonce-suicidal pianist Mark Reiter, sex-obsessed Mormon bass player Stan Norman and easygoing LeRoy Warner, an electric guitarist from Georgiamake for vivid contrasts in this unusual novel by the author of the The Clam Lake Papers. Himself a jazz musician, Lueders artificially structures this ship's log with music-like techniquesstream-of-consciousness ``solos,'' jazzy prose-poems, ``trios'' of dialogue, a coda and so forth. His salty, syncopated prose splices the passengers' inner thoughts to the sea's rocking rhythms, as each member of the trio navigates between an all-too-vivid past and an uncertain future on a voyage of self-discovery. (Feb.)