MEN AND ANGELS by Robin White
Kirkus Star


Email this review


Robin White is the author of House of Many Rooms and Elephant -- a Harper prize novel, published last year. This novel is also set in India and though it is concerned with a subject that is becoming increasingly familiar (and more risky) Mr. White's sure craftsmanship and straight-forward intelligence, along with the exceptional flavor of his setting, sets his book apart...Lucas Baber has been through college, married and divorced when he gets word in the U.S. that his father, an American missionary, has died in South India. Luke's recollections of his early youth in India were bitter: his father was a completely insensitive and inept man who seemed to resent his son and Luke would have been content to forget his father if he weren't overcome by grief that they had never made their peace. When he receives a letter from an unscrupulous former servant saving that his father is not dead he leaves for India immediately and begins a search that leads him into the mystery of Thornton Baber's character. Assisted by the warm and understanding Chellappa family, he learns that his father had abandoned the mission, given up his possession, adapted Indian attitudes and finally ended his life in an anguish of body and spirit. But Luke's search is more than a pursuit of the past: his realization that his father was a terribly misunderstood man unable to relate his best impulses to difficult situations, and his love for the daughter Sarojini becomes a discovery of himself. The book is full of incident, vivid and immediate in atmosphere, moving without sentimentality, and serious without self-consciousness.

Publisher: Harper