Castaway by James Gould Cozzens

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By James Gould Cozzens

An unspecified disaster has overtaken manhattan. Mr. Lecky, the only real survivor, unearths himself in a very good division shop which has additionally escaped destruction. here's every thing a man or woman may wish, not just to help life yet to find the money for luxurious and luxury. yet no longer rather every little thing. because the tale unfolds with scary rapidity, it turns into transparent that Mr. Cozzens has developed a latest parable of the story of Robinson Crusoe, one with strong implication—philosophical, mental, mystical—for the survival of contemporary guy. "Whatever the realization at which the reader arrives, what's past doubt is that the publication is an engaging and uncommon piece of work."—London occasions Literary complement. "Mr. Cozzens isn't any suggest artist in prose, and he has unique principles. He works additionally with admirable financial system of suggest, and with sensible aspect that rivets the imagination."—Saturday assessment. "No one that has ever learn a singular of his has forgotten it."—Bernard De Voto.

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There were times when I questioned the nature of the work, and my role in it. For instance: what other field rewards bullshit artists? Used car sales, politics and law, just off the top of my head. I was all too aware that I wasn’t travelling in the best company. Paraphrased, the job description of a Victoria Police undercover operative reads rather simply: ingratiate, establish trust, dump person in shit. Sometimes, especially on lengthy jobs, I’d find myself ingratiating a bit too much, and I’d end up feeling guilty when the shit-dumping was on the agenda.

Right from the outset, I wanted to be the best undercover operative I could possibly be. A good undercover has to process information in the most pressured of circumstances and environments. On top of that, you have to be able to act on three or four things at the same time. A drug dealer might say he wants to sell me some smack outside a video store on Smith Street, Collingwood. I’d be taking this in, but my mind would be racing: ‘Why does he want to do it there? If I were a crook, would I want to do it there?

Bloody cold, isn’t it? ’ ‘I should be there in an hour or so. ’ ‘Um, Riverside Park. It’s in Swan Hill. ’ Patty asked. ‘Yeah, I’ll find it. Riverside Park. ’ More evidence that we weren’t dealing with a prodigious intellect. I waited a moment before replying to his question, expecting him to catch on. I was still waiting three or four seconds later. ‘Just the name of the park, mate,’ I replied. ’ ‘Oh yeah,’ he said. ‘Mate, you couldn’t do us a favour and grab us half a dozen stubbies on the way through, could ya?

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