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    English Passengers (Paperback) By (author) Matthew Kneale

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    Description'A big, ambitious novel with a rich historical sweep and a host of narrative voices. Its subject is a vicar's ludicrous expedition in 1857 to the Garden of Eden in Tasmania, [as] meanwhile, in Tasmania itself, the British settlers are alternately trying to civilise and eliminate the Aboriginal population ...The sort of novel that few contemporary writers have either the imagination or the stamina to sustain' - "Daily Telegraph".


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  • Full bibliographic data for English Passengers

    Title
    English Passengers
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Matthew Kneale
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 480
    Width: 128 mm
    Height: 194 mm
    Thickness: 34 mm
    Weight: 358 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780140285215
    ISBN 10: 0140285210
    Classifications

    LC subject heading:
    DC21: 823.914
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: F2.3
    BIC E4L: HIS
    BIC subject category V2: FV, FA
    DC22: FIC
    LC subject heading:
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 21110
    Ingram Subject Code: FC
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: FIC000000
    Thema V1.0: FV, FBA
    Publisher
    Penguin Books Ltd
    Imprint name
    Penguin Books Ltd
    Publication date
    01 November 2005
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Matthew Kneale was born in 1960. He is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, including SWEET THAMES (1992), which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. He lives in Oxford.
    Review quote
    "'A big, ambitious novel with a rich historical sweep and a host of narrative voices. Its subject is a vicar's ludicrous expedition in 1857 to the Garden of Eden in Tasmania, [as] meanwhile, in Tasmania itself, the British settlers are alternately trying to civilise and eliminate the Aboriginal population... The sort of novel that few contemporary writers have either the imagination or the stamina to sustain' - Daily Telegraph"
    Review text
    Setting sail in the summer of 1857, the sharp coast of Tasmania is the destination for Captain Kewley's English passengers. To a practical Manxman they seem a strange lot but their passage is the only way to hide his smuggling activities from customs. Among the passengers is the Reverend Wilson, who is confident of proving the bible's literal truth by discovering the Garden of Eden in the Tasmania. Lurking behind his pompous clerical back is the sinister Dr Potter, formulating a disturbing new scientific theory of racial superiority. Their southward journey is a hilarious affair as the wily Manxmen unsuccessfully attempt to sell their illicit cargo at ports-of-call without their feuding passengers noticing. Interwoven within this wonderful comic novel, though, is a more serious intent. Peevay, the last Tasmanian Aborigine, recounts the barbarisms inflicted on his people by the invading British. Massacre, disease and depredations by escaped convicts take their toll on the aborigines but none is as deadly as the Victorians' absurd attempts to convert and improve his people; genocide in a velvet glove. The complex narrative is confidently welded together by this prize-winning author. It is superbly researched but most effective is the convincing construction of a range of different voices. (Kirkus UK)
    Flap copy
    English Passengers presents the diverse and often conflicting perspectives of a remarkable cast of characters -- including British convicts, government officials, missionaries who impose their European standards and self-serving rules on the native population, aboriginal Tasmanians caught in a desperate struggle for survival, and members of a bizarre expedition searching for the Garden of Eden. The narrative begins in 1857, as Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley of the Sincerity, thwarted in his plans to smuggle tobacco and brandy into England, is forced to put his boat up for charter. He soon finds himself bound for the Pacific, carrying not only his well-hidden contraband but also the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson, an eccentric vicar out to prove that the Biblical Garden of Eden lies in the heart of Tasmania; Dr. Thomas Potter, an arrogant scientist developing a revolutionary and sinister theory about the races of mankind; and Timothy Renshaw, a diffident young botanist. Each man offers a highly personalized record of the high seas adventures and internecine feuds that mark the voyage. The situation that awaits them in Tasmania is brought to life in narratives exposing the dark history of British and aboriginal relationships since the 1820s. Peevay, the son of an Aborigine raped by an escaped convict, describes the subjugation of his people by English invaders who are as lethal in their good intentions as they are in their cruelty. His impressions, ironically confirmed by reports from white officials, schoolteachers, and settlers, chronicle the destruction of a thriving, self-sufficient community in the name of God, science, and "civilization." Based on historical facts, EnglishPassengers is an epic tale, packed with swashbuckling adventure, humor, and memorable characters. Matthew Kneale renders the prejudices and follies of the Imperialist Age with dead-on accuracy and captures -- through the voice and destiny of Peevay and his tribesmen -- the irreversible tragedies it wrought.