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.
The author of more than forty works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, which have been translated into over twenty-five languages, BARRY GIFFORD writes distinctly American stories for readers around the globe. From screenplays and librettos to his acclaimed Sailor and Lula novels, Gifford’s writing is as distinctive as it is difficult to classify. Born in the Seneca Hotel on Chicago’s Near North Side, he relocated in his adolescence to New Orleans. The move proved significant: throughout his career, Gifford’s fiction—part-noir, part-picaresque, always entertaining—is born of the clash between what he has referred to as his “Northern Side” and “Southern Side.” Gifford has been recipient of awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, The American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. His novel Wild at Heart was adapted into the 1990 Palme d’Or-winning film of the same name. Gifford lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.