CAPRICORNIA by Xavier Herbert


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A haunting book which brings to life a part of the world which the war in the Pacific has headlined, the northern territory of Australia -- still a frontier and a hard one. Herbert has done for this land and these peoples, whites, blacks and halfcastes what Sarah Gertrude Millin did for one part of Africa. The story is a gripping one, difficult to handle -- the problem of the half breed, the ""yellers"" thrust into the social level of the blacks, despised by both. Norman was ""different"". He accepted from his white uncle the story of his father's death in the war -- his mother, a Javanese of royal line. He was brought up as a brother of his uncle's daughter -- away from the cattle ranch in Northern Australia where everyone knew him as the bastard son of rascally Mark, wanted for murder -- and a black girl. Then he came home -- on leave -- and little by little learned the truth. Worse still, he became involved in a framed murder and even his ""sister"" turned against him. Bitterness -- anger -- thwarted ability-disillusionment -- at the end the friendship of his derelict father and acquittal. A long novel, ruthlessly honest, letting the characters and the story provide their own indictment of intolerable conditions. Not a book for casual entertainment, but an important addition to our too slim knowledge of a not-so-very-distant ally. Sell to the market that likes Stuart Cloete and Henry Handel Richardson.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1943
Publisher: Appleton-Century