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English Passengers

New or Used: 5 copies from $4.94
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About the Author

Matthew Kneale studied Modern History at Oxford University. He then spent a year in Japan where he began writing short stories. He is author of several novels, including English Passengers (2000) which won the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He currently lives in Rome. Date- 2013-08-06 Matthew Kneale studied Modern History at Oxford University. He is the author of several novels, including English Passengers which won the Whitbread Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lives in Rome. Matthew Kneale was born in 1960, the son of two writers, and grew up in London surburbia. He went on to study History at Oxford University, specialising in the nineteenth century. Upon completion he travelled to Tokyo, where he found work teaching English, and it was then that he first tried writing short stories. Returning to England he completed his first novel, Whore Banquets, which was published by Victor Gollancz in 1987 and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1988. His other novels include Inside Rose's Kingdom, published by Victor Gollanca in 1989, and Sweet Thames which was published by Sinclair-Stevenson in 1992 and won the 1993 John Llewellyn Rhys Award. A paperback edition of his latest novel, English Passengers, will be published to coincide with his Australian tour during September 2000. Matth


It is 1857, and Reverend Geoffrey Wilson sets out on his mission to prove scientifically the literal historical truth of the Bible by locating the Garden of Eden. However, the Reverend has placed Eden in Van Diemen's Land or Tasmania, a British prison colony. This sets the stage for Kneale's Whitbread-winning examination of mid-19th-century British colonial life. The work mixes a wide range of participants with their own agendas, e.g., the ship's captain, who attempts to sell his contraband cargo of tobacco and brandy while dealing with his passengers, and Peevey, a mixed white aboriginal who bridges the gap between the two worlds. English Passengers is further highlighted through the use of seven readers (Ron Keith, Simon Prebble, and Davina Porter, among others) to tell the story from multiple perspectives. Kneale's deeply researched work provides an excellent window into the British colonization of Australia and the savage treatment of the natives. Recommended for all audio collections. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. at Parkersburg Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"'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"

The brutal hand of British imperialism provides the foundation for this broad historical swashbuckler about the English colonization of Tasmania in the early and mid-19th century. U.K. author Kneale debuts stateside with this lengthy novel of hapless smugglers, desperate convicts, simpering bureaucrats, mad vicars and displaced aborigines. The English passengers are the Reverend Wilson, a vicar determined to prove that Tasmania was the site of the original Garden of Eden, and Doctor Potter, a ruthless scientist equally determined to prove Wilson wrong and gain fame in the victory. They're on their way to Tasmania aboard the good ship Sincerity, commanded by Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, a high-seas smuggler and rascal of renown. This is an unpleasant voyage for everyone, especially Kewley, for he has been forced to charter his ship in order to escape punishment for dodging customs duties on his illicit cargoes. Storms, pirates and foul tempers, however, are just the prelude to the hardships that await everyone when they land in Tasmania. British self-righteousness in forcing civilization and Christianity on the aborigines causes wholesale slaughter and subjugation of the islanders, and the natives are more than just restless. Wilson and Potter's overland expedition is guided by Peevay, a wily aborigine not about to knuckle under to the white man. Of course, the expedition is a bloody disaster. Murder, madness, betrayal, mutiny and shipwreck spice up the action and provide intricate plot twists with surprising and satisfying resolutions, particularly for Captain Kewley. This rich tale is told by 20 different voices skipping back and forth across the years, but somehow Kneale manages to keep the reader from becoming confused. Kneale's careful research and colorful storytelling result in an impressive epic. BOMC featured selection. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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