The Drifters by James Michener

This novel, written originally in 1971, ensconces the reader in the counterculture that emerged following the Vietnam war. It is told from Mr. Fairbanks point of view and the point of view of those who were experiencing that period. Effective characterisation is a strength and the novel challenges the movement’s ideals with the harsh reality. Six young adults travel to glamorous locations such as Spain, Morocco and Mozambique. Intimate details of Joe, Britta, Monica, Cato, Yigal, Gretchen and Harvey are shared as they travel. They are all outcasts in some way. Monica and Cato’s relationship and the effect of their hedonistic lifestyle on Monica is gut-wrenching. The hippy movement and its decadent excesses implode around and within the travellers, bringing a very personal and heart-breaking angle to this era. It’s a requiem for an ideal world. Michener is a quality writer.

The Drifters
Published: 2014

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