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Revolution is simmering in the heat of battered Central American town Port Tropique, where protagonist Franz Hall is an “intellectual Meursault in a paranoid Hemingway landscape, a self-conscious Conradian adventurer, a Lord Jim in the earliest stages of selfwilled failure” (New York Times). The ineffectual hero spends his days drinking and observing people in the zócalo, and occasional nights involved in an ivory-smuggling operation threatened by impending government siege. Always persistent are memories of Marie and what was lost. In this sinuous narrative of dislocation and remorse, Barry Gifford details Franz’s mundanity and the bizarre cast of characters swirling around him.
“[Barry] Gifford uses the charged story of…an apprentice smuggler as an occasion for his own literary and cinematic struggling — from Conrad, Hemingway, Camus, John Hawkes, Howard Hawks, Welles, and Ozu among others — and to discover new literary form.” — New York Times Book Review
“Gifford’s prose is beautifully spare, his observations keen, and he is a terrific storyteller…Smuggling, revolution, the tropics, - all are richly rendered in this complex and excellent novel.” — Publishers Weekly