CANAL DREAMS by Iain M. Banks

CANAL DREAMS

KIRKUS REVIEW

"Dreams" is right, as Yukio Mishima meets Hiroshima mon amour in this spare, hallucinatory novel about a world-class Japanese cellist taken hostage in a terrorist coupHisako Onoda, whose fear of flying has forced her to take ship on a freighter for her European concert tour, has been spending the interregnum floating on a Panama lake while the canal is closed by political unrest, brooding on her earlier losses and achievements--her widowed mother's sacrifices to pay for her lessons, her growing mastery of her instrument, her obligatory affairs--and taking up with Philippe, a French officer aboard Le Cercle. The political extremists who liberate the tanker (together with two other ships trapped on the lake) dramatically change the course of Hisako's life but not the texture of her narrative--as the slaughter of passengers and crew, Hisako's recital for and meeting with chief terrorist Earl Dandridge (CIA, of course), and her surrealistic bout of counterterrorism alternate with further memories of her traumatic first airline flight and the man she killed during an airport riot. Plenty of violence, all right--first Dandridge's men, then Hisako, fire at every available target--but it all seems to take place underwater: memory, dream, and reality merge as the novel drifts toward a symbolic holocaust. Banks (The Bridge, etc.) sets up the usual melodramatic premises of the genre but then sidesteps them for atmosphere and enigma, like the closing episodes of Twin Peaks.
Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 1991
ISBN: 034910171X
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1991




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