THE DARK PATH TO THE RIVER by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman


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Leedom-Ackerman (No Marble Angels) chronicles a desperate power struggle in an unnamed African country and interweaves it with a closely observed New York-based domestic drama. Journalists are converging on the United Nations appearance of the N.L.A., an African revolutionary group. Its agenda: secession of the sector of their country that they control from the regime of the dictator, Bulagwi. This media field-day lures both Olivia Turner, a gifted black journalist who's been living in Africa, and Kay Walsh, a relentlessly ambitious reporter for The Washington Tribune. Both gravitate towards the household of their former colleague, Jenny Rosen, and her investment-banker husband, Mark. Olivia, who knows the revolutionaries intimately, probes deeply into the feasibility of their nonviolent strategy and the source of funding for their whirlwind New York tour. Kay, meantime, chases not only the story but Mark, whom she dated years ago. Wimpy Mark is sympathetic to Kay's mile-high needs and is under pressure of his own. His firm is involved in financing a mining company in Bulagwi's country: not only in budding civil war threatening the investment, but bookkeeping irregularities are cropping up. Wife Jenny does some legwork for Olivia (is a shady consortium funding both sides of the conflict?) and leaves her inattentive husband as Kay makes increasingly frantic plays for him. Olivia shadows the N.L.A. leaders, who've gone underground in New York with the possible goal of assassinating Bulagwi. Leedom-Ackerman spins this convoluted tale masterfully, detailing the three women's professional rivalry, the rift between the N.L.A. leaders, and Jenny's uncertain family life with equal finesse. The disappointment comes in the wham-bam ending that obliterates subtle complications in the blare of a gunshot fired by a walk-on character. Still, an unusual blending of political and conjugal turmoil in a novel that's intelligent, probing, and a bit of a let-down.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1987
ISBN: 0595478778
Publisher: Saybrook--dist. by Norton