IN ORBIT by Wright Morris


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This boy comes riding with his arms high and wide, his head dipped low, his ass light in the saddle, as if about to be shot into orbit from a forked sling... The line down the center of the road is the zipper, and he is the zip."" This is another of Mr. Morris' hit and run horror stories with lots of oblique philosophy and not-so-abstract symbolism. The boy, Jubal is a mindless creature, ""supernatural"" in his primitive instinctiveness. He cycles into Pickett, Indiana and proceeds to devastate the local natives who respond with ""pleasurable apprehension"" after he rapes a simple minded old woman, bops the town ""A-C"" on the head, and knifes the hardware store man who is all too eager to hear the details of the rape. The various thrilled-fascinated reactions to his presence are summed up in one character's statement: ""Bit of the mad dog in us all."" That is what Mr. Morris sees and in effect communicates. He works with the moment, allowing instinct to override motivation, a convenient technique but the effect is hardly lasting. Particularly when he throws in such doggerel as ""who gives the twist to the wind?""... ""One man's twister is another man's vacuum."" Which nature abhors. So might the reader.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1966
ISBN: 0803258305
Publisher: New American Library