AUTUMN EQUINOX by John Hearne

AUTUMN EQUINOX

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

More than the title makes this a sibling to The Eye of the Storm which Little, Brown published in 1958 and again a Caribbean island provides a sensuous setting for a concentrated romance which inbred attachments, as well as off-island, political commitments, succeed in shattering. On Cayuna, with its special social nucleus (""only a few of the people are probably white and nobody is black"") Eleanor has been brought up alone by her Uncle Nicholas Stacey and theirs is an exclusive relationship-the old man has a certain grandeur as well as a deep love to give to the child he salvaged from early circumstances as shabby as his own (illegitimacy, etc.). A young American, Jim Diver, with an associate, Conroy, come to Cayuna, to set up-with Stacey's assistance-a printing press and work for the revolutionaries on the dictator-downtrodden island of Navidad (a Castro parallel here). Eleanor falls in Diver, who believes that in finding a cause-he has found himself; Nicholas, who derides the ""deficiency of purpose, lack of connection"" in the younger generation-feels that Diver is only attempting to ""escape the consequences of living"" and is justified when an attack leaves him the butt of both physical brutality and moral humiliation. Diver, now forced to prove himself as well as his convictions, goes off to fight in Navidad alone.... Hearne, a Jamaican, writes with greater intensity than subtlety- and the heavy, sultry prose may be overrich for some tastes.

Publisher: Vanguard