CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

John Keeble.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1980, 1982.
289pp, paper, $3.50.
ISBN 0-7704-1751-5.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

This is a well done adventure story with some historical and philosophical underpinnings that add depth and interest to the tale. The action concerns the importation of illegal Chinese immigrants to the United States for use as cheap labour, surreptitious border crossings, pursuit and protection by unknown forces, double-crosses, the growth of trust, the acceptance of fate and death.

Some of the loose ends are left dangling, and this is more satisfying than annoying. An example is the inclusion of Sandman, the biker, and his relationship with Ruby, where we are left to speculate and draw our own conclusions. There is also much about Chinese character and society that is never fully explained. Why does Taam seem drawn inevitably toward death and why does he make no attempt to avoid it until it is too late? Why does Lily renege on the deal with Lucas and what is the relationship of Rose Chew to the other characters?

Essentially, many of the people in the tale are losers, and we are reminded of their predecessors in the American West, especially of the pioneers who practiced cannibalism when stranded in the Donner Pass.

Jerry McDonnell, South Huron D. H. S., Exeter, ON.
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