Kirkus Star


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The author of New Song in a Strange Land (see p. 192, April 1, 1948 issue of the Bulletin) again reveals Liberia in a very special way in a very wonderful and true story. The journey to Lomaland was imperative because Comma's name had been tarnished and in order to brighten it a trial by ordeal attended by Mrs. Warner as the accuser who had never accused was necessary. The seven-day trek through the jungle has the qualities of excursion and pilgrimage, and a dramatis personae worthy of any company, Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Homeric. There was exuberant, highly verbal Johnny, who could riddle rationalizations with a fool's wisdom; Comma, the nearly tragic hero caught between the forces of white mission learning and the Poro cult of his people, the son in search of his father; his half-brother Zabogi, the chief-to-be whose dignity was imperiled by a ""frisky"" wife whom he was taking home to beat publicly; the delightful and beautiful Tama whose sauciness was in no way impaired by the doom supposedly impending. The perilous crossing of the river of the Deads, the conquering of the Cyclops in the personage of a tremendous rat all led home to Boitai, where a performance of Old Shake's Merchant of Venice ranked with the ordeals in the market-place. As Mrs. Warner made her journey, she attained a new realization of the demands of a communal society; she lived with the natives as they incorporated Shakespeare and Homer into their own culture; she delighted in their warmth and wondered at their wisdom. The amazing and expressive language of the natives, their wisdom and humor mingle with hers as she fulfills Comma's wish -- ""give us to your people"". A book to green the landscape of the heart, universal and timeless.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1954
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin