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166 Western American Literature Yellowfsh. By John Keeble. (New York: Harper and Row, 1980. 310 pages, $10.95.) Yellowfish is an ambitious adventure novel set mainly in the Pacific Northwest. The genre is adventure-thriller and the form is “on the road again” — so to speak — as Wesley Erks, a small time mechanic-farmer of Davenport, Washington, drives a Travelall over the scenic Northwest from Vancouver, B.C. to Reno, then to San Francisco. He is transporting “Yellowfish ,” illegal Chinese immigrants, into the U.S., for money, of course. The thriller aspect of the plot involves a man dying of a stab wound in Erks’ truck, pursuit of Erks by villains (Chinese Tongs, Commies, drug smugglers — you name it — things are a bit comic bookish and murky here). Naturally Erks, in the tradition of Humphrey Bogart, is a man involved in crime, sometimes cocaine running, sometimes smuggling yellowfish, but basically moral — given the milieu — a code hero a la Hemingway. John Keeble’s best writing in the novel occurs in his superb descriptions of the road. The mountains, rivers, plains, winds, and oddball characters along the way are well realized. The novel has already created a bit of stir in the Northwest as avid chauvinists point to the depiction of “our” land­ scape. Keeble’s style is very much influenced by his reading of William Faulkner, but done with only a few lapses into Faulkner’s sometimes over­ wrought style. Yellowfish is good entertainment with many flashes of brilliant land­ scape description. The thriller aspect is only vaguely realized; obviously it is only a vehicle for Keeble’s study of Erks, who, we must say, can drive and adhere to his vision, limited as it is, of his dedication to task and “ideals.” Descriptions of his wife and son round out the characterization to show us a man doing what he must to keep bread on the table. John Keeble has done much with his craftmanship here. He is a novelist who loves language, scenery, history, and somewhat far-fetched plots. All in all, however, he is a novelist with fine potential for reader entertainment. ROBERT B. OLAFSON Eastern Washington University The Wolf and the Buffalo. By Elmer Kelton. (Garden City, N. Y.: Double­ day & Company, 1980. 432 pages, $12.95.) Elmer Kelton of San Angelo, Texas, spent two years researching and writing his most recent historical western novel, The Wolf and the Buffalo. It is a true-to-life story of two men, a black soldier and a young Com­ anche warrior, whose lives and destinies cross during the late 1860s. The setting is early day Fort Concho, Saint Angela (San Angelo) and the ...


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