RARA-AVIS: Re: Wake in Fright

From: Doug Hoffman, MD ( hoffmand@cc.northcoast.com)
Date: 18 May 2003

I just finished this one. According to the intro, if I remember correctly, Cook was 40-something when he wrote this. Odd, considering some of the writing technique had an adolescent quality to it (I don't mean that in a bad way, necessarily). Otherwise, the story was a vicious headlong plunge into hell, and the kangaroo hunt was one of the most wrenching things I've read in a long while.

(spoilers) I also liked this a great deal, up until the ending, which I agree was a cheat. I was thinking the main character would either end up dead or back at The Game-- that he'd try to cheat, perhaps, make off with someone else's winnings (I thought the 'honor system' elements of the game were a set-up for this), and end up getting the crap kicked out of him. I would have liked that ending-- he goes through hell and learns nothing. Not all mythic underworld journeys are productive.

Sodomy? Well, I didn't understand the constant reference to the bright light, and there were aspects of the hunt he refuses to remember to the end. If there were more direct hints, I missed them. (Can you play "Dueling Banjos" with didjeridoos?)


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