EASY IN THE ISLANDS: Stories by Bob Shacochis
Kirkus Star


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Shacochis' debut story-collection presents its shiny talents confidently and quickly. The stories are set in the Bahamas and other Antilles islands, on shore and off--but these are no tropicalia-angst concoctions (à la Thomas McGuane): they are as firmly grounded in indigenous custom, in place and politics (civil and sexual), as are the best works of Robert Stone and V. S Naipaul. The title story--about a tourist-hotel owner trying to dispose of his visiting mother's freezered corpse--is jaundiced, comic, remarkably unforced (if conventionally predictable at the close). In ""Lord Short Shoe Want The Monkey,"" sexual viciousness and revenge are arranged into a cynical tableau in a calypso bar. And perhaps best of all--in its sweetness and comic stamina--is ""Redemption Songs"": two black revolutionaries-manque get way over their heads in astonishingly successful trouble. Other stories, which feature white men as observers or inept participants, knot up less well; they sometimes have a slightly sophomoric edge. And none of these pieces is a moral tale with the weight of prime Stone or Naipaul. Still, even at his weakest, Shacochis writes from fresh angles, with a strong sense of narrative surprise--and ever-bright prose. (""I steered for an hour while Champ played below and let me tell you, it's a fine feeling to captain a ship, a liberation to power it over the depths, surely a magic, like flight. The horizon writhes. You go on and on. The horizon writhes, now brassed with daybreak, now colorless and baleful with the coming of night, and the distance irons out in your wake."") An exciting introduction to a highly promising writer.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1984
Publisher: Crown