Bewildering Stories

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The Reading Room

by Jerry Wright

Second Chances
By Susan Schwartz

Tor Paperback $7.99

Second Chances is kind of an old-fashioned book. Susan Shwartz obviously loved Lord Jim by Conrad, and felt it time to write an hommage. It works on many levels.

If you liked Lord Jim, you will enjoy Second Chances. If you hated Lord Jim, you probably will not like Susan's take on the subject. Her character, oddly enough also named "Jim", fails himself and others at a crucial time, and spends the rest of his life trying to expiate his "crime".

The characters of Jim, and the other viewpoint character Cam Marlow are well drawn and consistant. The Kiplingesque: "It's Tommy this and Tommy that, and 'chuck him out, the brute'." is also well done, and if you've read any "Hornblower" or "Richard Bolitho" novels, you'll recognize the politics.

Jim is not the only one needing, or receiving a "second chance", and the war-ravaged society and the ugly, nasty, scavengers make sense considering what has gone before.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and recommend it as a work that has some nice psychological complexities. It is not a slam-bang adventure, although there are some slam-bang parts, but it is a thoughtful delving into the minds and persons of people who punish themselves far more than the outside world ever would.


Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Wright