book. They begin in the epigraph and end in the thirty-seventh chapter of a thirty-eight chapter story. All in all this makes for fairly good reading. Style here approaches or does it surpass? parody: . but since it’s about money, that’s where we come in. Well, Jehu, what do you think?” “A job for Treasury.” “Just like that?” “Just. Like. That.” Almost audible is the laconic voice of Sgt. Joe Friday: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Hinojosa does, on page 137, tip his hat to Jack Webb. In the words of Rafe Buenrostro: “Just doing his job.” RETURNING from one of his apparently aimless flying safaries in Out of Africa, Denys plains to his lover Karen Blixen \(Meryl ing: “You can see the tracks of the lorries everywhere.” The irony of a 70mm reconsideration of a pilot lamenting the coming of truck-drivers is of course lost on everybody, including filmmaker Sidney Pollack. Like a country singer mourning the loss of wide-open spaces on the Johnny Carson Show, he has made a hymn to Africa as the Old West, with Redford as wandering cowboy and Streep as his long-suffering, home-staying mate. Out of Africa is not a bad movie indeed with a sufficiently willing suspension of disbelief, it’s a luxurious romance but it has that loony ahistoricism that seems inherent in American films when they take up such subjects as “Africa.” They fall, out of time and actuality, into some vague otherworld where pure emotion triumphs over war, tyranny, distance, and other impertinences like implausibility. On that last score, Pollack rates reasonably well, dancing nimbly around intrusive matters like World War I and the collapse of the coffee market; romance is romance, and interruptions are interruptions. Michael King lives in Houston and writes about culture for the Observer. The plot, and a series of subplots, are sufficiently complex. And convincing. All build to a sudden and surprising resolution. But this cannot be considered Hinojosa’s best work. Written in the grammatic third person, the narrative too often drifts into a dramatic first person. In places, dialogue is not as convincing as in recent works. And some scenes, for me, just don’t work. But there is no zealot like a convert. Among those Roman Catholics who are most nostalgic about the Tridentine Mass is a generation that converted in the early ’60s. Or so I am told. A recent convert, I’m not yet ready to leave the We are not too far from the days when Hollywood’s Africa was simply a cartoon racist fantasy, populated by black extras in savage garb, alternately terrifying and fleeing before the noble and fearless whites Tarzan or Anthropologist or Great White Hunter. Those images still have popular power King OUT OF AFRICA Directed by Sidney Pollack THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY Directed by Jamie Uys Solomon’s Mines is the most recent example but the current conventional ogres are more likely to be Arabs, in keeping with shifts in contemporary American power and sensibility. Out of Africa is from a slightly different school, that of Africa as exotic backdrop for romantic and thrilling Anglo-European adventures. After her first flight, Isak it made her feel Godlike: ” ‘I see’: I have thought, ‘This was the idea. And now I understand everything.’ ” It’s an uplifting sentiment, to see and understand like God unfortunately, what seems here a moment’s fancy has been historically the white man’s image of himself, ever since he set foot in Africa. Dinesen’s Out of Africa is a stirring memoir by a singular woman, though exquisite style and theme of The Valley. And in a sense, Rolando Hinojosa has left the Valley. Not as a setting. Partners in Crime is set squarely in Belken County. But as a theme. Hinojosa’s past works evoked a place, then went on to do what Garcia Marquez insists good fiction must do: “penetrate reality, turn it inside out.” Partners doesn’t evoke. It tells. The Valley is no longer the subtly evoked reality that it once was. It is a setting, a backdrop. In moving on, putting this place into its place, we have lost something. You read Partners. Me, I’m going back to The Valley and a cool Jax at the Aqui me Quedo. I inevitably touched with an air of romantic nostalgia for the good old days of the empire which comes with the territory, so to speak. The Baroness Karen Blixen married her cousin and his title just before World War I and moved to their coffee plantation in Kenya. There she stayed for seventeen years, until the plantation went bust and .she returned to Denmark to make her living as a writer of travel books and fiction. Her book is straightforward reminiscence, generally free of sentimentality or regret, and marked by sharp portraits of land and people in a clear and unpretentious style. Pollack and screenwriter Kurt Luedtke have brought her romance with Finch-Hatton \(barely suggested in the powerful African context is held at arm’s length, as the picturesque occa,. sion of a fiery and contradictory passion.;; Actually, as it’s played here, both fire . and contradiction are mainly hers;. Redford as Finch-Hatton seems content to fly by for a quickie now and theii between shooting large mammals for hire, although he does manage to work up a bit of glum perplexity when she finally throws him out for refusing to marry her. \(At the mercy of box-office. casting, the script is speechless over the American-ness of the man:: OPEN MONDAY-SATURDAY 10-6 AND OPEN St ‘N DAY The Bounty of Empire By Michael King 20 FEBRUARY 7, 1986
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