TITLE: TO THE WHITE SEA
AUTHOR: JAMES DICKEY
PUBLISHER: HOUGHTON MIFFLIN; 275 PAGES; $22.95
THE BOTTOM LINE: An airman's hopeless, exultant flight from civilization is told in a poet's charged language.
There is a strange airlessness to this brooding, mannered tale -- part adventure story, part death chant -- of a downed U.S. airman's run to avoid capture, across the length of World War II Japan. The mood is intentional; author James Dickey, whose day job is writing and teaching poetry (and who wrote the hugely successful novel Deliverance), does not make mistakes with words. Quite deliberately, he has created a...