EXILE: Book IV of Daily Lives in Nghsi-Altai by Robert Nichols

EXILE: Book IV of Daily Lives in Nghsi-Altai

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This last volume in the tetralogy begun with Arrival (1977) provides a rather grandiose summing-up of the major concerns of the series: the choices made by one imaginary state in quest of ecological and technological stability, and the way in which these goals are reflected in political and spiritual terms in the ordinary lives of its citizens. The main characters (especially the three Western observers Alvarez, Morris, and Blake) are pretty much relegated to the background here. After an introductory sequence of poems (""canticles and sacred formulas"") crystallizing various aspects of the Nghsi-Altai experience and a lengthy capsule history of the country, the narrative swiftly chronicles the valedictory journey of a group of villagers, losers in the annual Nghsi-Altai ""population lottery,"" who must make their way to the border in preparation for future life in America. Too many shining thoughts and portentous images, with little of the provocative and astringent wit shown in Garb City (1978).

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: New Directions