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The Undiscovered Country

Gillison, Samantha

ISBN 10: 0802116272 / ISBN 13: 9780802116277
Published by Grove Pr, 1998
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

Signed 0802116272 Inscribed by Samantha Gillson. Acclaimed first book. Dj blurbS by John Hawkes, Peter Carey, Hilma Wolitzer, etc. Bookseller Inventory # 005034

Bibliographic Details

Title: The Undiscovered Country

Publisher: Grove Pr

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

A haunting family saga follows Peter and June Campbell from New England to Papua New Guinea, where their darker feelings toward each other begin to surface under the influence of the land and its villagers

Review:

"I don't know, Mitch, I think it's nearing the time for us to pack up and leave the field. But I still have so much work to do here. I guess it's all about being able to live with yourself when you know you haven't accomplished what you set out to do and maybe you're not even so sure what that was in the first place."

At the start of Samantha Gillison's disturbing debut novel, The Undiscovered Country, Peter Campbell thinks he knows what he wants to do. A postgraduate student in biology, Campbell has brought his wife, June, and young daughter, Taylor, to the jungles of Papua New Guinea on a research mission bankrolled by his wife's trust fund. Peter's motives for going appear to be clear; June's reasons for accompanying him are less so. Insecure, somewhat neurotic, June hopes that time alone--even in New Guinea--will strengthen her fragile marriage. The one unknown element in all this is 7-year-old Taylor, who gets off to a rocky start at the very beginning of the trip during a layover in Peru.

Once in the Papua New Guinean village of Abini, however, Taylor absolutely blossoms. Soon she is running wild in the jungle with her native friends and speaking the language so fluently that she is in danger of losing her English. But as Peter and Taylor settle into this strange new world, June feels increasingly estranged from them and her fear makes her rigidly cling to the rules and ethics that governed her life back home. Adrift in a foreign culture, cut loose from the social and emotional moorings of their own, Peter and Taylor become more and more alienated from June, who responds by taking an extraordinary step that ends, eventually, in tragedy.

In Gillison's fictional world, geography, psychology, and myth blend to create a landscape at once inviting and terrifying. The jungle she describes is a place of horrifying disease--parasites, allergies, malaria--and also one of unparalleled beauty, a land of shimmering eucalyptus trees and birds of paradise that "built elaborate stages out of twigs and moss and decorated them with orchids and wild ginger flowers." The undiscovered country of the soul, however, is a far more complex topography comprised as it is of love, ambivalence, disappointment, and unarticulated longing. Lose yourself in this jungle, Gillison warns, and you may not get out alive. --Alix Wilber

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