Although Beachmasters is not long (around two hundred pages), it introduces a wide range of characters and gives life to each one, whether major or minor.
Tommy Narota, the rebel leader, appears early in the narrative, then disappears for the most part until the end. Still, he remains a central if shadowy figure, his importance a consequence of the other characters’ references to him and of the events that unfold at his bidding. Gavi, who takes a more active part in the events, emerges as a memorable character through his behavior, responses, and interior thoughts, as well as through the way others respond to him.
Such is the indirect manner through which all the characters develop, even when they take the stage only briefly. Other narrative devices are also employed, including references to letters and newspaper clippings, descriptions of snapshots, and the discovery of a diary.
Of the colonial residents on the island, two stand out among a strikingly colorful gallery: District Agent Cordingley, a major personage, and Chloe of the Dancing Bears, a minor character. Cordingley, through his actions, speech, response to the rebellion, and treatment of the natives, is both a human being with more than his share of frailty and a caricature of the British colonial official. In addition to Cordingley’s own inadvertent revelation of his pomposity, failure, racism, and cowardliness, his wife’s and others’ reactions to his...
(The entire section is 470 words.)