BAMBOO by Robert O. Bowen


Email this review


A second novel (The Weight of the Cross) poses a spiritual concept and conflict as the belief in violence- ""the heresy of our time"" is projected- and rejected- through Joseph Patrick Egan- who wore the name of Shanghai- a sailor on a thirty day leave in Manila. For Shanghai, who is haunted by the memory of his father- a dead failure, and the image of Nate Corrigan who drank and fought and cursed with full male strength, seeks in himself an equal pride and virility. In Manila, Shanghai takes on the booze and bordello life there with emphasis; he gins with the gang and shacks up with a soft Filipino, Pigeon; and he is tempted by the desire to go bamboo. But the death of Mac, a local lush and sunshiner, returns him to his ship with an assurance in himself and in the impregnability of the fixed destiny a life at sea can offer him. A portrayal of a man at an instinctual level, in all his furious appetite and often sordid fulfillment, this is necessarily (some will find unnecessarily) anatomical, agonized, foul mouthed- and occasionally winged with gibberish (""the drifter's unquenched pining homeward.. the lone coul that wandered like rime on the minter sea""). And for all those young muscles which flex with an urgent masculinity, there's still a lot of firming up to be done.

Pub Date: March 9th, 1953
Publisher: Knopf