A GUEST IN THE JUNGLE by James Polster


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A winningly gentle comedy about an innocent young explorer who finds himself up to his Brooks Brothers pants in deadly Amazonian intrigue. Whitehill is a 31-year-old Pittsburgh lawyer who decided one day to take a leave of absence and see the world; as the novel begins, he is seeing all too much of the Amazon basin, since he's wandered off from the little frontier town where he's staying and is now lost in the jungle. By sheer good fortune--he thinks--he runs into the English-speaking Dr. Darriero, an eccentric scientist who promises to bring him back to civilization. But the next thing he knows, Whitehill has been dragged and canoed deeper into the bush by Darriero and his native guide, a savage Tsavi Indian. Whitehill escapes, running madly through the forest, and is saved by another Indian named Aterarana, who belongs to the wondrous Lotimone tribe, all of whom speak perfect English. Not surprisingly, Whitehill stays on, falls in love with the place, and even has an affair with Aterarana's sister--but the evil Dr. Darriero returns, captures Aterarana and Whitehill, and gives them to the Tsavi for sacrifice to their gods: it turns out Darriero is in the employ of oil companies that want to see the Indians kill each other off, then steal their lands. But Whitehill escapes and at novel's end will be an instant American celebrity. Part Walter Mitty fantasy, part plea for environmental patience (Polstor has lived among the threatened South American tribes), this is a warm, funny, altogether readable first novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1987
ISBN: 1935597515
Publisher: Mercury--dist. by Kampmann (9 East 40 St., New York, NY 10016)