SANTIAGO AND THE DRINKING PARTY by Clay Morgan

SANTIAGO AND THE DRINKING PARTY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Morgan (Aura, 1983--not reviewed) tells the story of a restless Yankee who goes south of the border to find the magic that eludes him at home--but who can't figure out what to do with it once he's there. Daniel Cooper is unable to stay out of the woods for very long. A college dropout and lumberjack, he leaves Idaho at the age of 19 and travels as far south as his money will carry him--which turns out to be the village of Los Puentes Caidos in the Amazon rain forest. There, he meets Santiago Benalcazar--a local mystic and fool who presides over the Thinking and Drinking Club and sees in Daniel a fellow miracle-worker and kindred spirit--and falls in love with Santiago's daughter Angelina. For no clear reason, however, he leaves them and returns to the States--then comes back to the Amazon 15 years later. The Thinking and Drinking Club is still in session, and most of the story revolves around it, its deliberations, and its members. Angelina hunts butterflies for a living now and worries that some strain of madness is infecting the villagers. There's a climax and resolution of sorts, but anyone who's at all interested in such formalism will probably give up long before reaching them: This is a thoroughly impressionistic tale, not a fantasy by any means, but one in which credibility and theme are held to a very long lead, if at all. Morgan has a good eye for detail and a comfortable voice and tone, but he doesn't seem interested enough in tying together the divergent (and often wholly unrelated) aspects of a very loose narrative. A rather aimless chronicle of exile and discovery.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-670-84341-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1992