Synopses & Reviews
Here is the chronicle of the strange events that befall Mandragora, a primitive farming village in the Outer Hebrides. A tale of conflict where there had been none, of lives irrevocably transformed, this is the written testimony of farmer and inventor Yves Gundron, edited and annotated by Harvard academic Ruth Blum. Yet this historical manuscript is not quite what it seems...and neither is the town of Mandragora. When Yves recalls lyrics that are recognizably from a blues song, it begins to seem that Blum is not merely an anthropologist preparing a historical document, but an active participant in Mandragora's battle with the double-edged sword of progress.
The Testament Of Yves Gundron is a brilliantly imagined exploration of the pursuit of modernity -- and of the detritus left along the way.
"Barton's intelligent and amusing facility with idioms and speech patterns rooted in Middle English injects a dynamic historical feel into her truly visionary project." Publishers Weekly
"Blessedly post-ironic, engaging and heartfelt a story that moves with ease and certainty, deeply respecting the given world even as it shines with the integrity of dream." Thomas Pynchon
"An engrossing folk tale that, in our technology-crazed era, ought to be required reading." Time Out (New York)
"Establishes Ms. Barton as a copiously talented, daring writer." The New York Observer
"A heartfelt vision of a hardscrabble Shangri-La on the verge of being hauled into the shocking light of the present." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"The best aspect of this well-written book is that it lends itself to debate what is progress?, is it so important? which makes it particularly appropriate for book discussion groups. Highly recommended." Library Journal
After Gundron introduces his new invention to the town of Mandragora in the Outer Hebrides, conflict develops amongst the fewer than 20 townspeople. In this playful, adventurous debut, Barton explores the two-edged sword of technology, asking what is lost in the fervent pursuit of modernity.
About the Author
Emily Barton graduated from Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Brooklyn.