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In this riveting account of the shipwreck of the Batavia, Simon Leys travels to the site of the disaster to evoke the brutality and tragedy of the bloody island massacre that befell the ship's survivors.
Simon Leys is the pen-name of Pierre Ryckmans, who was born in Belgium and settled in Australia in 1970. He taught Chinese Literature at the Australian National University and was Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney from 1987 - 1993. His most recent awards include the Prix Renaudot (France), Prix Henri Gal (Academie Francaise) and Prix Leygues (Academie de Marine, France).
"* 'Leys is able to distil the essence of a moment in time and give it such a resonance that it rings like a bell.' Simon Hughes, Sydney Morning Herald * 'Luminous... Adventure, shipwreck, violence, sex, horror, an exotic setting - these are the elements that have made the story of the wreck of the Batavia off the West Australian coast in 1629 the stuff of legend.' Age * 'The Wreck of the Batavia is a dazzling tale told by a master. Not only is Leys a writer of classical simplicity, Ironic in emotional restraint, but his research is impeccable... His account is brief, direct, essential - and monstrous.' Phillip Sollers, Le Monde"