TROPICAL DETECTIVE STORY: The Flower Children Meet the Voodoo Chiefs by Raymond Mungo

TROPICAL DETECTIVE STORY: The Flower Children Meet the Voodoo Chiefs

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This latest fictionalized chapter in Ray Mungo's anguished-insouciant odyssey (Famous Long Ago, Total Loss Farm) tells how Mungo, now post-radical and post-communal man, lost his ego through love and joined the company of human psychic superpowers behind-the-scenes. After coming on like a cross between Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me and The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the book disappoints by delivering only a hip hitchhike saga with delusions of grandeur. Pseudonymous ""Dennis Lunar,"" lost-wandering through Europe and Central America in the grip of contrasting sexual and karmic triangles, meets the reincarnation of a dead buddy, and suffers unrequited man-love for his best friend. (Mungo regulars will find some old cryptic hints fleshed out here.) These events -- affecting enough on their own scale -- are made the vehicle for staggering emotion and unbearable transformation, which often substitute for details of what really happened and thus leave the reader in the cosmic dark, muttering ""So what?"" That the tale can't contain the revelation is not to invalidate it but to show that you can't write on both levels at once: if a man beyond words still wants to write for a living, he'll have to abandon Mungo's old form -- the retrospective realistic picaresque selbst-Bildungsroman.

Pub Date: June 21st, 1972
Publisher: Dutton