Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklySocratic inquiry and contemporary American skepticism each reckon with tropical mysteries in this haunting tale of community and solitude in the Amazonian jungle. Daniel, a tired and feverish young American traveler, pauses in the small village of Los Puertes Caidos and discovers a sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying world that he will never be able to leave behind. At the center of village life is the cantina where the don Santiago presides over the Thinking and Drinking Club, nightly posing metaphysical questions over a steady flow of beer and lemons. Scheming Hector Tanbueno, an Auruna Indian raised by missionaries from Ohio, walks the fringes of local society, declaiming in grandiose poetry, exploiting tourists and quietly menacing Daniel. Santiago's beautiful, unattainable daughter Angelina captures blue morpho butterflies on the riverbank, while Daniel's other love, Consuelo, serves drinks at the cantina and cares for him during his bouts with malaria. As Los Puertoes Caidos is beset by a series of bizarre hardships, primal mystery overwhelms the reasoning of both Daniel and Santiago. Morgan ( Aura ) evokes this magical realm with an unsentimental directness and simplicity. His characters, though strange, never become grotesques. And as the foreigner becomes inextricably tied to this outlandish, unknowable life, Morgan's tale achieves the resonance of myth. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library JournalDaniel Cooper travels to the Amazon as a college dropout and again much later as an affluent but disillusioned public relations specialist. Both quests for truth lead him to Santiago's Thinking and Drinking Club, a jungle institution strangely reminiscent of Socrates' symposium. While the Club contemplates good and evil, free will and fate, such abstractions are vividly embodied in the beautiful and innocent Angelina and the sadistically wicked Hector. The story features comic confrontations between natives and tourists ``in matching Banana Republic outfits,'' but Hector's schemes eventually lead the entire village to a deadly fate. A 1983 Idaho fiction competition winner for Aura , an unpublished manuscript, Morgan creates an exotic locale and populates it with intriguing characters, but his plot can't always support the novel's ponderous themes.-- Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville
What People are saying about this
James WelchThere are some books so vast and lovely and tragic you just don't want them to end. Santiago and the Drinking Party is such a book. And that makes Clay Morgan a wonderously gifted writer.
Mary Clearman BlewClay Morgan's novel contains unexpected pleasures and surprising griefs. Its death telling is matched by its intensity. A delight.
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