THE PRIMITIVE by Feike Feikema


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Cut out to be the beginning of a trilogy, this giant, open -handed, open-minded novel nevertheless stands very solidly- even uncompromisingly- on its own. Evidently an adulator of both Whitman and Thomas Wolfe, Feikema's novel has an almighty sweep and breadth, a style which manifests itself in large square blocks, a basic rhythm that has a primitive echo. Thurs Wraldson, an awkward, overgrown, untutored, orphaned farm boy is given the opportunity to be educated at Christian College in Michigan, with the hope that he will go into the ministry at the end of four years. Starting off slowly, roughly , and feeling unbearably self-conscious of his enormous self, Thurs gradually works his way through the sophomoric quagmires of lust, the quest for God, the fuzzy politics of the 1930's, the baffling philosophies and the meaning of brotherhood. On the less intense side, there are escapades in brothels, basketball games, dormitory confabs, college dances, enlightened classes given by liberal professors. Thurs emerges, much like Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel, a primitive, solitary, almost mythical wanderer searching for whatever truth there is to be found. This has a ferocity and an unbridled basic spirit that will appeal to those who have enjoyed other Feikema titles.

Publisher: Doubleday