THE JANUS LOVERS by Miggs Pomeroy


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Latest in the Western-African romance circuit, this novel about a hopeless interracial love amid foaming currents of African political turmoils is strong on locale and action, roundly presumptuous in characterization. A towering mass of cliches is emerging from this area and the author misses none of them. The African lover, Aden, and western Jane, are impossibly noble on their precarious pinnacles; the villain is a half-breed ""Arab""; the nationalist leader, Baodai, is a familiar composite; the American observer, Mark, is a post-Bogart, pre-Shriver creation, given to drink and cynicism but a chips-down patriotism. In this small African country, nationalism, under Baodai, is mounting toward a tidal wave with the Russians, Chinese and Americans taking appropriate positions as the temper changes from hour to hour. Aden, Baodai's spiritual son, educated abroad, is torn between the strength of his leader's purpose and his friendship for Mark, above all his love for Jane. Plots and counterplots involving American and Russian aid, personal feuds, and always the Janus nature of any relationship between African and white, lead inevitably to Aden's murder by tribesmen and Jane's death by Baodai. Margaret Laurence (whom Knopf introduced in 1964 with several books) still has a clear field although this is so-so satisfactory.

Publisher: Norton