Hitting the funny bone and touching the heart, the new novel by the author of WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY.
John Harding was born in the Isle of Ely in 1951. After local village and grammar schools, he read English at Oxford. He worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor before becoming a freelance writer. His first novel, the bestselling What We Did On Our Holiday was shortlisted for the WHSmith New Talent Award. He lives in Richmond upon Thames with his wife and two sons.
Set on a fictional South Pacific island inhabited by black bantam pigs and a clan of nearly-naked eccentrics, this excessively zany British import has a raging conscience and a muted heart. Managua, a one-legged tribesman (most of his fellow inhabitants are missing limbs), is obsessed with transcribing Hamlet into island pidgin and finds his unconventional paradise disturbed when William Hardt, a white American lawyer, arrives to arrange reparations for natives whose limbs have been blown off by the landmines left behind years ago by the American military. Hardt soon witnesses a staggering array of peculiarities: the the shitting beach where villagers empty their bowels every morning; transvestite men forced into dressing in drag by parents who wanted girls; vision quests brought on by consuming kassa, a red hallucinogenic paste. A few years after his departure from the island, Hardt's successful mission has drastic consequences for the island. Journalist Harding (While the Sun Shines) is an equal opportunity and brutally sharp lampooner, though he sometimes misses (notably in his invocation of 9/11 as a parallel to corporate America's exploitation of the island). Folly, silliness and cultural sucker punches come at full speed in this ribald, imaginative farce. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Enormously enjoyable...Harding tackles this novel's huge, tragic
subject with a blissfully skewed lightness of touch. * DEBORAH
Masterly...ambitious in scope and executed with wit and exuberance, John Harding has created a rich, complex and endearing fictitious world which holds important truths for our own. * DAILY MAIL *
Instantly winning...it made me laugh. A lot...Gaugin-gaudy, and as rich and spicy as a good dish of stewed yam * DAILY TELEGRAPH *
Blackly comic...intensely literary...an allusive tour de force... thoroughly entertaining. * THE TIMES *
A multi-layered comedy...laugh-out-loud funny, ambitious, carefully constructed, addictive, this novel is one big damn fine achievement. * GLASGOW HERALD *