Books: Notable

THE NAVIGATOR

by MORRIS WEST 407 pages. Morrow. $8.95.

Many people dream of escaping the world and fleeing to some unspoiled tropical isle. Most of them settle for a couple of weeks in the Hamptons or a package tour to Puerto Rico. Not Gunnar Thorkild, the half-Polynesian, half-European hero of Morris West's latest novel. The grandson of a great Polynesian navigator as well as an instructor at the University of Hawaii, Thorkild publishes a paper claiming that even in this day of earth satellites and up-to-date hydrographic charts, there exists in the vastness of...