Moving from fable and historical fiction to contemporary realism, this book of stories from Barry Lopez is erotic and wise, full of irresistible characters doing things they shouldn't do for reasons that are mysterious and irreducible. In "The Letters of Heaven," a packet of recently discovered 17th-century Peruvian love letters presents a 20th-century man with the paralyzing choice of either protecting or exposing their stunning secret. When some young boys on the lookout for easy money get caught with a truckload of stolen horses, thievery quickly turns into redemption. For a group of convicts, a gathering of birds in the prison yard may be the key to transcendence, both figurative and literal. And, with the title story, Lopez enters a territory of unmitigated evil reminiscent of Conrad. Here are saints who shouldn't touch, but do; sinners who insist on the life of the spirit; a postcard paradise that turns into nightmare.
Light Action in the Caribbean has already been hailed by Russell Banks as "tough-minded, emotionally turbulent, and always intelligent." E. Annie Proulx describes these stories as "subtle and mysterious" and says that a reader "cannot leave Lopez's fictional territory unchanged." This is a book that breaks exciting new ground for Barry Lopez.
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