PAPA TANGO by John Clagett


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Veteran adventure novelist Clagett delivers an affecting farewell to the WW II PT boat (""Papa Tango"")--that small, fast, lightly armored, and highly maneuverable hero-vessel of the South Pacific. It's now 1965, and a group of PT vets is holding an annual reunion in Manhattan--but it's the first one for former captain Charlie Noble, presumed dead-in-action by his PT buddies. In fact, Charlie survived--with injuries that have left him with a reconstructed face and a hook instead of a left hand. Unmarried, 46, called ""Creepy"" by the girls he teaches at a backwoods New England college, Charlie has come to this reunion full of memories: his wartime affair with Kathleen Daggs, wife of a vulgar, boisterous adulterer who died in action; his decision--after near-death and disfigurement--to let Kathleen believe he had died (she has since remarried and divorced). So now, at the reunion, Charlie looks for Kathleen, while other vets and their wives also brood on their past heroics, their war wounds, and their present woes (frigidity, loveless marriages, mental problems, cancer, dead-end careers). A sturdy sentimental drama overall, in the Best Years of Our Lives tradition--as remembered naval action alternates with sex, nostalgia, and middle-aged miseries.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0595006787
Publisher: Crown