Book Reviews of Swimming in the Volcano

Swimming in the Volcano
Swimming in the Volcano
Author: Bob Shacochis
ISBN-13: 9780140236583
ISBN-10: 0140236589
Publication Date: 6/1/1994
Pages: 528
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.

4.5 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Books
Book Type: Paperback
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From Library Journal
In the opening pages of Shacochis's splendid first novel, Mitchell Wilson, an American who works for the Ministry of Agriculture on the Caribbean island of St. Catherine, is heading downhill. His lost love, Joanna, has decided to drop into his life again, and he's on his way to the airport to meet her, riding in a dilapidated car whose brakes--dependent on coconut oil for braking fluid--have failed. Wilson's harrowing ride is a perfect metaphor for life on St. Catherine's and for the turn his own life is about to take. Joanna may have come to St. Catherine simply to escape trouble, but Wilson still bristles when a government official tells him to stay clear of her. He should have listened. This may sound like a fast-paced thriller, but though there's a mystery to crack at the heart of this richly detailed novel, Shacochis in fact offers a chilling evocation of the misunderstandings that arise between feckless Americans and struggling islanders for whom St. Catherine's is no paradise. The author's maximalist prose, lush as the tropics he's describing, could have used some pruning--but then we might have lost a few flowers. Highly recommended; Shacochis is the author of Easy in the Islands ( LJ 2/1/85), a short story collection that won the American Book Award.

- Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"