About a year ago one of my bosses at Sun recommended the novel English Passengers by Matthew Kneale. I just finished reading it and highly recommend it. It is about a crew of smugglers from the Isle of Man who charter their boat to an expedition searching for the Garden of Eden. The group is headed by a clergyman who believe he will find the Garden of Eden in Tasmania. The back of the book describes the book as and "epic romp across the high seas and cultures of the nineteenth century." and I would agree. There are very few books that make you laugh out loud but this one does. It has some very serious themes too. One of the expedition members is developing a malevolent thesis about the superiority of races.. The book is also intertwined with what is happening to the aborigines of Tasmania. Bottom line it is a great story. Usually I can anticipate how a book will end but this one had me guessing until the end.
After recently reading
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by
Mark Haddon I am conscious of how perspective is used in a novel. English Passengers is told from the perspectives of at least 20 different people. You might think this would be confusing or heavy handed but the book flows beautifully.
English Passengers was a Whitbread Book of the Year and was a finalist for the Booker Prize. Interestingly enough
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time also won the Whitbread prize. I just looked up the Whitbread Prize and the site says "The criteria are to select well-written, enjoyable books that they would strongly recommend anyone to read." Based on this I think I’m going to have to read some other Whitbread winning books.