THE TALENT SCOUT by Romain Gary

THE TALENT SCOUT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a fable of modern evil, its arena a vaguely South American country full of ignorant Indians, rebellions and nervous embassies--- its cast a mixed lot of ""entertainers"", a hell-and-thunder preacher, a ventriloquist a juggler, etc., who have been summoned there by the dictator, Almayo. Nearly killed by Almayo's orders, rescued by a revolution, then in flight, they learn from Almayo's American mistress why Almayo has sent for them- and what (to paraphrase the mistress- a limited, college-type, do gooder) ""the poor boy's problem is"". Almayo wants to sell his soul to the Dvil. An ignorant Indian, has tried to find in power and corruption the talent that will lead to success- a talent he invests in the Dvil, or his manifestation, among the oddly talented- the ""entertainers"". Throughout the rebellion Almayo's mistress seeks to ""help the country""- and Almayo- by suggesting an analyst. Almayo, who has come to fear and hate her ""goodness"" attempts to track down his last hope, an ""act"" with a genuine smell of sulphur about it, but he fails, and disillusioned, is killed. A minor character suggests, in passing, that perhaps the only real human mira is love--- life's only talent, survival..... This is all rather brittle, rather bitter, and not too profound- but it is dramatic and well-paced and has a certain fascination.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1961
Publisher: Harper