David Thompson made an irrevocable decision when he declared himself a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. Spending time in prison did not rehabilitate him as the authorities expected, but instead made him realize he would never fit into American society. So he made his home in Japan, married Kaori, and settled into his new life as an expatriate.
But now, many years later and after both he and Kaori fight life-threatening illnesses, David wonders about his time on earth. Has he really made the right choices? He and Kaori decide to take a journey through Europe, reliving David’s past, hoping to lay old ghosts to rest.
Autumn Shadows in August was modeled roughly on Malcolm Lowry’s Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid, and is richly peppered with Norris’s own life experiences as an expatriate. In this story, David takes a magic mushroom trip back in time, visits with Lowry’s ghost, and shares his heart and soul with Kaori. And when the trip comes to an end, both Kaori and David have a new understanding of themselves and their relationship.
Reviewer: Alice Berger