Reviews by Francis Blue Devil

Java Head

by Joseph Hergesheimer

Strangers in a strange land

The Author

In the 1920s Joseph Hergesheimer was considered to be one of the most important American writers of his time. He liked to write about wealthy people using a detailed descriptive writing style. However, his style fell out of favor during the next decade as America’s taste moved to tough guys and terse clipped dialog. Java Head was Hergesheimer’s most acclaimed novel.

The Story

People in New England don’t talk much. When they do, they keep it simple; they limit their talk to observations and evaluations and they avoid feelings. Cause, feelings are sensitive, and feelings can be hurt, and it’s not a proper thing to do in New England. So, they try to dance around each other, but since they don’t understand each other’s feelings, they don’t know each other’s boundaries, so, they dance clumsily, because they are all pointy elbows and knobby knees and they knock and they bump and their feet tangle and they fall down and their feelings get hurt.

So, this Sea Captain and his new wife, who he brings home from China, and this woman he used to like and this other guy who likes China and who likes opium and who whishes the Captain’s wife would like him… Well, they don’t talk, so they dance, clumsily, so they collide, and so, somebody dies.

And, if you who want to find out, who? dont worry, it’s a good read.

Reviewed on 2009.06.23

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