IN THE SPARROW HILLS by Emile Capouya

IN THE SPARROW HILLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Conscience, violence, the nature of memory, good and bad faith--these are some of the themes fluffed and styled by longtime literaryman Capouya (former literary editor of The Nation; now publisher of New Amsterdam Books) in what he terms ``stories,'' although they read more like feckless, somewhat unctuous memoirs. While intellectual and social anecdotes are related (recalling an incident in a Chekhov story that can't be later substantiated--a dream of grace visited Capouya's imagination by Chekhov; the embarassment of facing someone else's embarassment; the survival-of-the-fittest--and less qualified--in the work-world), Capouya returns again and again to his war experiences and the time he served as a merchant seaman: the drama of the sea and of spending weeks among other stressed men cast up lessons like spume. The writing is sculpted, self-conscious, occasionally quite beautiful--but from behind it seems to peek a vanity more intent on dis-expectation and tease than anything else: truths getting doled out in tiny half-spoonfuls. Odd--and also affected.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-945575-62-9
Page count: 266pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1993