cover image The Immanence of God in the Tropics

The Immanence of God in the Tropics

George Rosen. Leapfrog (Consortium, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (170p) ISBN 978-1-935248-31-6

The seven stories in Rosen’s vivid collection declare their directness and transparency from the get-go; with each title preceded by a location and date—“Kenya, 1973”; “Mexico, 2004”; “New England, 1988”—a sense of place figures prominently throughout, as do physical descriptions of characters and fragmentary personal histories. Essentially, Rosen is a yarn spinner in the best sense of the word. “A Good White Hunter” tracks the steady descent into criminality of the rugged title character, Atherton, who has three African wives and very little impulse control. Often, Rosen’s narratives are frames for characters who are themselves storytellers, with culture clashes at the center. “The Sauna After Ted’s Funeral” brings together a Finn named Willi with two characters called Nutbrown and Squillace and a fourth, an American called Alden, who relates south of the border misadventures. In the title story, set in East Africa in 1858, an inexperienced missionary struggles to find his footing among veteran colleagues while absorbing the sensory overload of the unfamiliar natural beauty around him. Linkages of time or place seem less important to Rosen (Black Money) than simply writing energetic and lovingly described stories. (Nov.)