THE DURIAN TREE by Michael Keon


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Michael Keon's earlier novel- The Tiger in Summer (Harper-1953) was a study of Communism in action in the Far East. This returns to a similar theme and similar arena- Malaya- but somehow it is the rain jungle, in all its lush, primitive splendor, which leaves a more lasting impression than the minor struggle which is engaged there. This takes place, if only indirectly, between Trumpey, the British Adviser to the titular Malay Sultan, the representative of an enlightened, benign Colonialism, and Ng, a Malayan Chinese, a native of implacable hostility and dedicated vision. For while Trumpey remains fairly remote- living at the Residency with his wife and her sister, Candace, Ng continues to harry his enemies determined to destroy ""the soul, spirit and symbol"" of Trumpey. This will be accomplished however through the human agency of Candace, whom he kidnaps- while she is with his old comrade at arms, Ferris, at the edge of the jungle. Ferris follows them and a great deal of the narrative here alternates between shared incidents in the past, between the developing romance- Ferris and Candace, and between their physical progress through the jungle which is projected in visually exciting detail. This is an alien part of the world, and certainly the many books which have dealt with it have not brought it any closer to an American audience, but the international struggle which takes place here (in more emotional than intellectual terms than the earlier book) has significance and Keon is a writer of fairly vivid powers.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1959
Publisher: Simon & Schuster