Winner of Britain's Whitbread First Novel Award.
A New York Times Notable Book for 1998.
Synopses & Reviews
Pauline Melville conjures up vivid pictures both of savanna and forest and of city life in South America where love is often trumped by disaster. Unforgettable characters illuminate theme and plot: Sonny, the strange, beautiful and isolate son of Beatrice and Danny, the brother and sister who have a passionate affair at the time of the solar eclipse in 1919; Father Napier, the sandy-haired evangelist whom the Indians perceive as a giant grasshopper; Chofy McKinnon the modern Indian, torn between savanna life and urban future. This is a novel that embraces nearly a century, large in scope but intimate as a whisper, where laughter is never far from the scene of tragedy; a parable of miscegenation and racial elusiveness, of nature defying culture, magic confronting rationalism and of the eternally rebellious nature of love.
"...[S]umptuously written....nothing is black and white in this complex, multilayered novel....Melville shows herself to be a discerning observer and a giften satirist, the kind who takes no prisoners." Jay Parini, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
's first book, Shape-shifter
, a collection of short stories, won the Guardian
Fiction Prize, the Macmillan Silver Pen Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book. The Ventriloquist's Tale
is her first novel.