SAILOR SONG by Ken Kesey
Kirkus Star


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After 25 years, a new novel from Kesey--a brilliant, funny, heartening tale of the power of love to stomp out evil in the last decent town on earth--proves that the heroic old Trickster can still pitch a fastball. Just after the turn of the millennium, Isaak Sallas, a.k.a "the Bakatcha Bandit," a legendary environmental warrior from the "Nasty Nineties," wakes up in his antique trailer to confront a couple of unwelcome omens from the end of the world. The most deadly sign is the silvery albino Nick Levertov, the bad-seed son of Alice ("the Angry Aleut"), battering the hell out of blowzy Louise Loop. The next day, watching a huge silver movie-company yacht sail into the harbor with Levertov aboard, Sallas realizes that Levertov has come back to Kuinak, Alaska, to settle a score of grievances. A couple of decades before, Sallas, once a CIA flier who won the Navy Cross, had to bear the death of his baby daughter--a death caused by his own exposure to pesticides. The tragedy transformed him absolutely. The next day, he used his pesticide plane to drop a fragrant load on an upper-middle-class crowd at a California county fair: right "Bakatcha." His fire bad burned out long since, he now thinks. He'd hoped to live in peaceful obscurity in this last unpolluted backwater, fishing with the jolly Brit skipper Carmody and his Rasta sidekick Greer. Now, however, with Levertov buying up and corrupting the town with wads of movie money and piles of a designer drug called "Scoot," Sallas discovers that he has the stuff--the love and faith--to drive evil out of town: "Dolls were being set up, and being knocked down. The situation was in progress, and in dedicated lock; it couldn't be blinked and it couldn't be ducked." A wonderful tale for the times, proving Kesey is "Bakacha" after all these years.
Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0140139974
Page count: 528pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992


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