A second novel (after Another Shore—not reviewed) from the prolific Hitchcock—poet, playwright, painter, short-story writer- -spins a colorful yarn about a young Mexican tennis pro and his overland journey from Canada to home, entering the US for the first time. CÇsar-Agosto Villase§or M. is primed for adventure as he heads southward for his sister's wedding, but he attracts more than his share of bizarre companions en route. After dumping a duffel bag full of ``salmon'' in the ocean on his way to Washington—a favor to a well-heeled couple met in Victoria—he accepts a ride from a Christian in a pork-pie hat who abandons him on the highway in front of a roadblock. He reconnects with the well-to-do in Seattle, but a plane ride with a pollen-gathering professor turns tragic when they crash; his pilot is killed, while Agosto escapes without a scratch. In Oregon, he works briefly for Mormon beagle-trainers, then reenters the tennis world and is enlisted as a board member in an international cattle-raising scam, a tax shelter for the rich arranged by an ex-IRS auditor, who's terminally flattened when a tree falls on his mountain retreat. In San Francisco, Agosto is invited into the fog-bound villa of a Papal Count, but fallout from the shelter scheme forces him into hiding and he becomes the tennis pro/time-share salesman for a remote Sierra vacation development. When he finally reaches Mexico, the wedding plans have fallen apart, so he takes up a comfortable life in Uruguay, with new American friends and ample protection from powerful men similarly involved in the cattle business. An amusing tale: fluid and zany, with an unflappable, ever-so- slightly jaded hero and plenty of social commentary.
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