QUIN'S SHANGHAI CIRCUS by Edward Whittemore


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A complex, brutal, numbing and often dazzling first novel in which one Geraty -- a huge, smiling fat man -- persuades a New York Irishman named Quin to go to Japan to seek his origins and escort a young American to a Jesuit priest named Lamereaux, responsible for his safety in the years preceding World War II. Lamereaux proves to have been not only an expert on No drama but a vital member of a courier system which enabled Baron Kikuchi, former head of Japanese Intelligence, to pass military secrets to America via caches best known to pederasts like Lamereaux. Both Kikuchi and a Russian anarchist who originated the system were lovers of Quin's mother -- she had also had another child, via the Baron, now the leader of the third largest crime network in the world. Meanwhile the Baron's other long-time mistress, a tattooed prostitute, turns out to be the mother of the lunatic Gobi murdered in Japan by the same henchman who killed Kikuchi in the war. Quin follows these various interlocking tales, coincidences, and endless allusions until he returns to the original source of his journey -- Geraty -- who now is leading a Buddhist existence in a small village by the sea, worshipped as the possible reincarnation of a 13th century monk. . . . A showcase entertainment -- with something of the narrative versatility and manic verve of say Richard Condon. The phantasmagoria of events, linked with both history and myth, is accomplished with ease while the fanatical density of incident forces the reader to try to unlock the mysteries that connect humans both to each other and the universe.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1974
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston