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It is Back from Tuichi published under the new title "Heart of the Amazon" in Australia!
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hebrew
Lost in the jungle!--told with a hearty emphasis on endurance and terror. In 1982, the author, an Israeli then in his 20s, was backpacking around South America. After some typically youthful escapades (e.g., tripping on a hallucinogen in Bolivia's desolate Valley of the Moon), Ghinsberg fell in with Karl, a self-proclaimed Austrian geologist who offered to take the author and two others- -thoughtful Marcus, a Swiss, and stalwart Kevin, an American--deep inside the Amazon rain forest. Flying out of La Paz to a remote town, the four were soon hacking their way through dense foliage, dining on smoked monkey meat, and panning for gold on an isolated riverbank. But the adventure was marred by tension between the travelers, spurred by Karl's bossiness and Marcus's whining, and eventually the foursome split up, with Karl and Marcus planning to return to La Paz while the author and Kevin were to raft down the treacherous Tuichi river. It's at this point, midway through the narrative, that Ghinsberg's tale takes flight: Almost immediately, he and Kevin lose their raft and are separated in the river's white waters. Carrying on alone, equipped only with a small bag containing matches, bug repellent, rice and beans, etc., Ghinsberg suffers through a horrific ordeal of starvation; jungle rot; attacks by hornets, leeches, and biting termites; torrential rains; slashing wounds; a jaguar stalking; and maddening loneliness. But after 20 days of being sustained primarily by his will (``I can go on''), the author, near death, spots Kevin approaching in a boat: ``I was safe''--but Marcus and Karl (whose surprising real identity is later revealed) are never seen again. The brutal politics of rain-forest exploitation provide a somber backdrop, but it's the gripping foreground action here that makes this yarn--though lacking the introspective depth of, say, Tracy Johnston's Shooting the Boh--a strong bet for armchair adventurers. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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