by MacDonald Harris. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, Inc., 1977. Also London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1978; New York, Avon Books, 1979; London, Penguin Books Ltd., 1979.

Editions of Yukiko

From the Jacket:

It is August of 1945. An American submarine, silent and hidden, moves in toward the darkened coast of an island. On board are an odd quartet: Gus, a commander who was once a student of religion; Angelo, a skilled navigator who conceals his secret almost to the end; Havenmeyer, who understands firearms and explosives better than he does the complexities of the soul; and Ikeda, caught between two cultures and uncertain where his loyalty lies.

Thus begins a book like no other book: partly an adventure-thriller set in wartime Japan, partly a glimpse into a primitive world in which the Ainu who still live in small settlements on Hokkaido are turned into a race of occult artificers, half real and half magic. Interwoven into this is what is surely one of the strangest sexual encounters in modern literature. In spite of the electric air of calmnessin which everything happens, the suspense builds page by page. When the climax finally comes it is a double one, as unexpected as it is inevitable.

MacDonald Harris's novel is related in a brilliant enamel-like clarity that resembles Camus more than it does any American writer. Its Yukiko is a heroine who lingers in the mind with the vividness of things known and felt, half forgotten, and then remembered again in a dream. History and fantasy are mingled; they become one and then there is only the story. After the mythological fable of Bull Fire and the nostalgic Jules Verne adventure of The Balloonist, Harris now offers a novel of action, of violence and peril, that is in the end simply a story of a man and a woman, and their love.

Critical acclaim for Yukiko

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