Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThe award-winning British novelist ( The Lost Father ) and feminist critic ( Monuments and Maidens ) produces a tour de force with this lavishly imaginative and sophisticated work. Invading and colonizing The Tempest , she restores Sycorax, Shakespeare's ``blue-eyed hag,'' to power on an indigo-producing Caribbean island at the time of its 17th-century ``discovery'' by the British. While Prospero remains unidentified, Caliban and Ariel are her foster children; Miranda is born three centuries later in WW II London, a descendant of the island's British conqueror. But invasion--literary, political, sexual--constitutes only one of many themes. An epigraph, from Derek Walcott's Omeros , begins, ``Men take their colors as the trees do from their native soil''; this novel's sections, named after colors (like the novel itself), take their hues from Warner's ineffably sensuous descriptions of the island, suggesting a non-chronological approach to historical narrative--the indigo-stained Sycorax's way of seeing. Into this already lush ground, Warner introduces the gripping, cannily rendered story of Miranda and her attempts to address a problematic psychological legacy and to participate in establishing a new order. Consistently inventive, complex in its implications, this is an altogether dazzling achievement. (Richard Wiley's novel Indigo , published by Dutton, is reviewed in this issue.) (Sept.)
Alice JoyceIn a tale inspired by Shakespeare's "Tempest", generations of the Everard family are traced from their earliest ancestors on the Caribbean island of Enfant-Beate--the name it was given by the European conquerors--to twentieth-century London. Both past and contemporary familial struggles are interwoven with island settings enlivened by the magical vibrations of Sycorax, a sorceress from long ago, and Serafine, the island nanny of the youngest Everards, Miranda and Xanthe. Warner bathes her narrative in rich colors and heady scents, beginning with the Arawak foundling Ariel's encounter with the first Englishman, Kit, whose child she bears. When the author follows Xanthe's way back to the ancestral homeland, the magic appears effortless, binding together the many threads of her thoughtful saga.
- Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
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