Mortal Leap

by MacDonald Harris. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1964. Also London: Michael Joseph Ltd., 1964; London, Corgi, 1966.

From the Jacket:

Ben Davenant is a merchant mariner, rebel, drifter, a man who takes love and life as it comes and wants no part of the world. When his ship is blown up in the South Pacific, Ben is stripped of every shred of his personal identity--his face, his name, his fingerprints--and cast into the sea like a piece of wreckage. Rescued almost against his will, Ben must at last choose who and what he wants to be. But it is a choice that he refuses to make until a dark-haired woman walks into his hospital room and says that he is her husband.

MacDonald harris has written a provocative novel, a wry narrative that moves with the exciting power of an adventure story. In scenes that range from waterfront bars and brothels to the rarefied atmosphere of the California gold coast, he creates men and women who vibrate with a life uniquely their own. His compelling story of a man's triumphant for something or someone to care about evokes the humor, the sadness, and the absurdity of a world that we must all somehow survive.


See review on the Neglected Books Page and multiple reviews on goodreads.


After being out of print for many years, Mortal Leap, will be republished in May of 2024 as part of the Recovered Book series from Boiler House Press. .

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