BLACK FOUNTAINS by Oswald Wynd

BLACK FOUNTAINS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Winner of Doubleday's $20,000 prize -- and an exceedingly interesting and often revealing book, introducing a new talent, immature and amateurish at times, but fresh and exciting in much of what he has to say. Here- in terms of one American-educated Japanese girl's reactions, fears, hates, loves, is a Japan we do not know- the Japan that accepted the bonds of belonging while hating what Japan had come to stand for. Wynd was a prisoner of the Japanese; he was able to see both sides. The story opens in the Fall of 1938, as Omi, returning to Japan after five years of freedom, attempts to uproot what holds her to America and to find herself again in a Japan she dreads and fights. She finds within herself conflicts she had not dreamed existed- she resists her parents' determination to gain submission and acceptance, both of ways of thought and ways of living. Wynd has used a sort of stream of consciousness device to take the reader into the minds of his characters, while paralleling this with narrative, dialogue, description, which forward his story. Omi resists- and then takes on her own terms the plan for marriage with Ishii; she finds unsuspected richness- and equally unplumbed doubts in that marriage, as Ishii becomes involved in his strange sadistic uncle's underground plan for Resistance in Peace, a plan for undermining the foreign rule they know is inevitable after defeat. One gets the various points of view within Japan itself- the manipulation of propaganda instruments- one has almost a sense of seeing the machinery of their minds in action. At the close, Ishii gives his life that Omi may save their people- as she takes the secret plan to the American authorities.... There has usually been difficulty in selling stories with a Japanese background; The Three Bamboos in recent years overrode this. Now in Black Fountains we have another chance to make a bid for understanding this strangely remote people.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1947
Publisher: Doubleday