RARA-AVIS: Gold Medal: South of the Sun/Wade Miller

From: James Reasoner ( james53@flash.net)
Date: 14 Aug 2002

SOUTH OF THE SUN, Wade Miller, 1953

John D. MacDonald's THE DAMNED may be the best known Gold Medal to use the
"Grand Hotel" plot, but other GM writers used it, too. This one by Wade Miller is firmly in that camp. It starts out:

    Once there were eight people in an exotic city.
    They were strangers to each other, even the married ones, and they all dreamed in human ways. But the least of these eight persons did something about his little dream. In so doing, he bound the strangers in an intimate circle, whether they knew it or not. He touched them all in passing and changed their lives and dreams forever, according to their own choices. In one turn of the earth this happened.
    It was a special day and it began like this ...

I think that's pretty good stuff. The characterization is good, the plot somewhat predictable but okay, and the writing is very smooth. The authors take nearly the first half of the book to introduce the eight main characters and fill in the reader on their backgrounds, but while that's going on they also slip in a few plot developments. The story takes place in Acapulco, and while there's not a lot of detail about the setting, there's enough so that it feels realistic. I'm not real fond of the "bring a bunch of strangers together" plot, but when it's well done, as it is here, it makes for an entertaining book.

Best, James

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