Love & War in California

Oakely Hall

Opening the morning after the attack on Pearl Harbor, this traces the life and troubles of a then wanna-be writer over the next four decades. Hall divides the book into three sections. The first, “Gates of Bone,” follows the narrator’s love life and casts his evolving liberal sentiments against abuses of power. The second is a brief snapshot of his experiences in World War II. The third deals with his successes, some years later, as the acclaimed author of a bildungsroman with the same title as the first section of this novel. The rhetorical device serves the story well. His portrayals of the vileness of human nature, viewed from the perspective of youthful passion and reviewed from ruminative vantage points of age, evoke both the complexities of loyalty and the disillusion of promise.