Sunday, November 22, 2009

Me Cleaning House

Hi Flower!

I was in the mood to clean, but not clean so that I had get up and move around. A more restfull clean. So I dug a book out of one of the many I-Want-To-Read-This-Someday stashes around my house and came up with  The English Passengers.

My favorite books have many beginnings. Desperate characters and stories that start out all over the place and then somehow through author magic come together. The English Passengers is like that. There are narrators a plenty, each telling their own and the group's story.

There's Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, whose once great family has been declining in fame and money with each successive generation, and his crew trying to get ahead by smuggling cheap French brandy and tobacco. The Reverend Wilson is expecting to find the Garden of Eden in Tasmania. Dr. Potter is working on a thesis explaining the superiority of the Saxon race over all other peoples. The most fully drawn and compelling character is Peevay, the child of a Aborigine and the white convict who raped her. His descriptions of the colonist's atrocities, and his innocent suffering as the settlers try to both 'civilize' and wipe out the Aborigines, juxtapose the unbridled arrogance of the colonists.

Author Matthew Kneale has handled the epic of this novel very well. He has strong control over the scope of the story, his characters and plot. The English Passengers was a terrific read. A page turning historical novel in which no princesses appear. A lovely change of pace. I think you would like it.


P.S.  And look it's another Booker finalist, who knew?

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