Themes and Meanings

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

If Cherokee is an imitation of life, then life itself is ruled by chance, not by design. Individuals pursue their own happiness, whether it seems to lie in the acquisition of money or in the fulfillment of love. Inevitably, they use one another, deceive one another, and intentionally or unintentionally interfere with one another’s plans. Farcically, they tumble in and out of one another’s lives, and although it might seem that the reunion of George with Jenny at the end of the book is the conventional, providential happy ending, the fact that George’s cousin and old enemy Fred is driving the car does not promise a serene future.

Cherokee is also, however, a spoof of the traditional detective novel, or perhaps, more accurately, a realistic rendering of real-life flight and capture. One of the most clever themes in the novel centers on the numerous cars which are inevitably present in a contemporary thriller. They are not equipped, however, like James Bond’s cars; they do not even work. Periodically, George visits his car, which is terminally ill in the repair shop, and rents worse and worse models. As the tempo of the novel quickens, the cars worsen. George’s rented Opel, which has an ear-deafening motor and bad brakes, barely makes it to his hideaway. His mistress’ kidnappers have to push their Talbot to get it started. When he pursues them, George is betrayed by the Opel, which loses its oil, forcing him into a car with...

(The entire section is 495 words.)