02 September 2011

Post-Apocalypse in Pink

The Lord's Pink Ocean
David Walker
New York: Daw, 1973
160 pages

This review now appears, revised and rewritten, in my new book:
The Dusty Bookcase:
A Journey Through Canada's
Forgotten, Neglected, and Suppressed Writing
Available at the very best bookstores and through


  1. This is what I love about this blog. There is always something unexpected. I actually have this book. I had no idea that Walker was a Canadian writer. A quick look at Wikipedia reveals that Walker appears to have had quite an exciting life in his younger days. He was an aide-de-camp to Governor-General Lord Tweedsmuir, the novelist John Buchan, and a prisoner of war, among other things. I am going to have to read something of his now. I'll pass on "The Lord's Pink Ocean." Perhaps "The Wire" will be more interesting. As Walker has experiences as a POW making escapes from prison camps a story about escaping POWs might have more substance to it.

  2. My thanks for the kind words. I agree, Walker does appear to have lived an extraordinary life. I was curious about his biography, Lean, Wind, Lean (1984), but found it so weak and fragmented that I could only thumb through its pages. "It's been a year since I began to write these slivers of memory," begins the brief concluding note. In this, his last book, Walker shuffles about, moving randomly from year to year... chapters 14 and 15 concern 1943, chapter 16 deals with 1939. chapter 17 concerns 1939 and 1940, while chapter 18 is titled "1943, and on, and back". Thirty-one chapters in all, some as short as three pages - "slivers" - with almost nothing about his life after 1947. Very sad, really.

  3. That's a shame--at first I was hoping for a lost apocalyptic classic, but the quoted lines sound more like Wodehouse!

  4. Wodehouse! Exactly. Observes William French: "The problem with Walker - or one of the problems - is that he is still writing for a British audience, in a British idiom. In fact, he over-anglicizes to the point of caricature." I add that the Smiths, who are Scots, sound like Irvine Welsh characters quoting Rabbie Burns.

  5. 'The Wire' sounds interesting. I'd love to read a review of it.

  6. wollamshram, care to take up the challenge?