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To the White Sea, James Dickey


A primal descent of one man facing desperate odds? Hell, what’s not to explore on the written page. The best gunner in the squadron during WWII, his plane gets shot down while on a bombing run of Tokyo and he’s the only one who parachutes out alive. His chute gets caught up in a crane at a seaport at first, and then he’s left in the bowels of Tokyo during American fire raids of the city. Whatever situation he gets himself into, any predicament, he accepts it as it is. He grew up in Alaska and knows how to hunt, fish, and survive. He gets out of the city after having to kill a person to access Japanese clothes, jumps on a freight train, and the adventures continue. He nonchalantly starts killing civilians on his journey North in order to survive and actually seems to enjoy it to an extent. He is happier than he’s ever been, at home with this moment. Part of life’s process. He meets an American studying Zen Buddhism at a monastery, is told on by the monks there, captured, kills the 3 Japanese soldiers in transport, and continues heading North to where he hopes is barren, desolate, and isolated – Hokkaido was salvation for him – up in the mountains… where he could trap, where he could control and live. That’s all he wanted. No rescue, no return home. His home was where he was headed. He’s a Buddhist in s sense that whatever happens, happens, and he dies, that’s okay to. He manages to get to the island, which builds up to his rightful ending. Many underlining themes – one with everything; Buddhist principles scarred by madness; He becomes in it, a part of it, and mother nature – becomes all of it. Deep as I had hoped.

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