TANGIER BUZZLESS FLIES by John Hopkins

TANGIER BUZZLESS FLIES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A second (The Attempt, 1967) and very similar slow motion(less) suspension in which Joseph Cabell, an oil prospector, very troubled after the death of a native friend, decides to stay on in Tangier searching for the ""interior realities"" while the buzzless flies contaminate the flesh they feed on, unnoticed. Cabell submits to the scruffy stasis of the life of the cafe or the Kasbah -- a cup of tea, a pipe of kif, while the warm winds stir the garbage underfoot and the hawks fly overhead. Mr. Hopkins' novel, for all its emphasis on mood, is extremely photovisual while incidental people drift in and out (Mohamed who is jailed; another Mohamed who is drafted; the woman Hamid he sends into the desert where he still retains his dream of finding water and with whom he goes to bed or sets fire, gratuitously, to a house). Throughout Cabell, in his attempt to find peace, order, ""affirmation with his surroundings,"" seems trapped somewhere between uncertainty and futility; indeed the fatalism of the book is what gives it the hypnagogic effectiveness of a part of the world where life is only a detente -- waiting for death. One returns willingly to its more commonplace demands.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1972
Publisher: Atheneum