STRANGER AT THE GATE by Malcolm Bosse

STRANGER AT THE GATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Yet another sprawling Asian novel from Bosse (The Warlord, 1983; Fire in Heaven, 1986), but this slow-moving tale of love and revolution in Indonesia is sadly lacking in flair and originality. It's Indonesia 1965, most definitely a year of living dangerously for Maggie Gardner and her husband Vern. Maggie's a young anthropologist, Vern a tough-minded construction engineer who has built hotels and bridges all over Asia. The two met and married within two weeks at a romantic vacation spot, but now things are falling apart a bit. Maggie is appalled by the suffering she sees on the streets of Jakarta, while Vern is insensible to it. While Vern is off building yet another hotel, Maggie takes a short vacation in a more pleasant part of the country, and thus meets and falls in love with a handsome, rather mystical Indonesian named Ki-Dalang Gitosuwoko, a famous puppeteer (or "dalang"). In extremely complicated parallel developments, generals disloyal to the government of Sukarno stage a coup that fails; the Communist party (or PKI) is blamed, and much bloodshed and chaos ensue. Ultimately, Gitosuwoko is killed for his communist ties; and having now known true love, Maggie leaves poor Vern for good. One must slog one's way through Bosse's complicated Indonesian intrigue (far less graceful than the plots and counterplots in his China novels), and Vern and Maggie are unappealing and rather dull. A disappointment.

ISBN: 671-66785-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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