Read English Passengers by Matthew Kneale Free Online
Book Title: English Passengers|
The author of the book: Matthew Kneale
Edition: Nan A. Talese
Date of issue: March 14th 2000
Loaded: 1187 times
Reader ratings: 6.9
ISBN 13: 9780385497435
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 423 KB
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books:
An immensely satisfying read and a literary adventure! That’s what this book was. It began with the first line:
Say a man catches a bullet through his skull in somebody’s war, so where’s the beginning of that?
How can you not be pulled into a story that begins thus? On top of that, the man behind this first line bears the auspicious name of Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, and he is as delightful as his name suggests (though you cannot see his more piratical side from the name, but it is there). Captain Kewley is the light of the story, the comic relief, the voice that steers the reader through the story and indeed through the waters of the globe, from Britain to Tasmania. And there we encounter an atrocious chapter of British imperial history and the denigration of the Tasmanian Aboriginals.
So, we have here the big story – the atrocities in Tasmania, historically accurate and probably unknown to most people; and we have the smaller stories, those of Captain Kewley and his passengers, notably an insufferable reverend and an old-fashioned doctor, the former in search of the Garden of Eden, which he has every reason to believe is located in Tasmania, the latter in search of ‘specimens’ (the story begins in 1857, two years prior to the publication of The Origin of Species). It is a story about men’s fates.
The shift in, and authenticity of the, narrators reminded me of Cloud Atlas, the old-fashioned storytelling of Wilkie Collins. (I would add that the novel also requires the patience that these two authors demand. That sounds unkind, but it actually reflects that this is a Big book, if also a bit long). Reverend Wilson has a distant cousin in the sanctimonious Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice, and the Aboriginal boy, Peevay, has his own language as original as Harri’s in Pigeon English. The result is utterly convincing, and through these characters – and the big and the small stories – Matthew Kneale manages to be alternately outrageously funny and monstrously tragic. At all times, the story is exquisitely told, uniquely so.
No wonder this was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (2000). This book was written by an enormously talented writer at a time when it seems to me few books like this are being written this expertly.
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Read information about the authorMatthew Kneale was born in London in 1960, read Modern History at Oxford University and on graduating in 1982, spent a year teaching English in Japan, where he began writing short stories.
Kneale is the son of writers Nigel Kneale and Judith Kerr, and the grandson of essayist and theatre critic Alfred Kerr.
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