This Other Eden
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 BOOKER PRIZE
'Masterful . . . [This Other Eden] has much to say to our times.' Guardian
'A testament of love . . . so real it could make you weep.' Danez Smith, New York Times
'A luminous, thought-provoking novel.' Esi Edugyan, author of Washington Black
Set at the beginning of the twentieth century and inspired by historical events, This Other Eden tells the story of Apple Island: an enclave off the coast of the United States where waves of castaways - in flight from society and its judgment - have landed and built a home.
Benjamin Honey- American, Bantu, Igbo- born enslaved- freed or fled at fifteen- aspiring orchardist, arrived on the island with his Irish wife, Patience, and discovered they could make a life together there. More than a century later, the Honeys' descendants remain, with an eccentric, diverse band of neighbours. Then comes the intrusion of 'civilization': officials determine to 'cleanse' the island, and a missionary schoolteacher selects one light-skinned boy to save. The rest will succumb to the authorities' institutions or cast themselves on the waters in a new Noah's Ark.
Full of lyricism and power, Paul Harding's This Other Eden explores the hopes and dreams and resilience of those seen not to fit a world brutally intolerant of difference.
'Harding invites comparisons with authors such as William Faulkner, Robinson and even Elizabeth Strout . . . This Other Eden . . . begs to be widely read.' Spectator
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