Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Poseidon Adventure: A Great Adventure Book
If you've never read a Paul Gallico novel, I recommend him. I first "met" the author in high school when we read The Snow Goose, a short work about a deformed artist and his friendship with a young girl and an injured snow goose. He lives in a lighthouse on the shore of England and sails to Dunkirk to help evacuate the trapped troops there. It is a modern fairy tale that has an almost poetic beauty.
Another novel, Trial by Terror, is a gripping story of an arrogant journalist who slips behind the Iron Curtain into Hungary after the execution of an American "spy" in 1950. He is captured, himself accused of being a spy, and subjected to torture and a show trial. The book was published in 1951 only a few years after Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty's arrest and show trial. I wondered when I read the book whether Gallico had that in mind as he described the interrogation, drugs, and torture used to break the journalist. He ends up confessing to everything just as the cardinal did in the end.
I look forward to reading more Gallico. His personal life was less than exemplary, but he had a great gift as both a correspondent and story-teller. One of his tales is The Small Miracle about a little boy who seeks help from the pope to cure his sick donkey. Somehow, I think the Lord will be merciful to a man with the childlike nature to write such a book.