THE RUNAWAY by John Peter


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The little could describe middle-aged American citizen Michael Dorstiger in South Africa visiting the farm where he grew up. It could also refer to the restless native he is conned into taking with him on a trumped up hike to the coast. Or, it could be applied to the futility of all these characters. The native is a political assassin (although Dorstiger is a long time finding this out) and the object of a police manhunt. It's Dorstiger's impulsive, personal gesture to a new found liberalism, but he agrees to be the protective cover to the native masquerading as his bearer. Their route takes them past the home of Dorstiger's first love and the time spent there reveals his past history of leaving problems behind him to settle themselves; she's solidly married, slightly regretful at his youthful desertion, and totally faithful to her husband. A troubled Dorstiger moves on, becomes indebted to his native charge for saving his life, but begins to wobble about the ethics of aiding an assassin. Dorstiger helps the man right up to the moment of escape. But, wounded himself, he finally tells all to the police. We leave him about to return to the U.S. Depending on which pole exerts the strongest influence with individual readers, this can convince White Racists of Black Militant duplicity and vice versa ... No headlong thrust here--just Dorstiger's passionless guilt and convenient conscience.

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 1969
Publisher: Doubleday