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Easter Island Paperback – 27 May 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; 1st Abacus Edition edition (27 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349117950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349117959
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.6 x 19.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

compelling reading (IRISH EXAMINER)

A stunning story, beautifully told (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Beautifully wrought ... streets ahead of BIRDSONG (TIME OUT)

Part travel adventure, part absorbing scientific discovery, part love story (GUARDIAN)

Book Description

Full of suspense and revelation, EASTER ISLAND is an exceptional, supremely satisfying novel, marking the debut of a brilliant new writer and storyteller.

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First Sentence
The decisive moment for Germany's fleet in the Great War was, indisputably, its ill-timed arrival at the Falkland Islands. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
...is what Easter Island represents for many people, being one of the most remote locations on earth. I found myself immediately drawn into the story, since the island is both a backdrop and a principal "character" itself. There is that intrinsic fascination with the "moai," the enormous stone statues that have also made the island famous. And as a result of more recent research, Easter Island is a possible paradigm for ecological catastrophe.

Vanderbes alternates two (and a half) tales involving the island, with sixty years separating them. There is an Englishwomen, Elsa Beazley, who sacrificed her own life's ambitions to care for her apparently autistic sister, Alice, and who accepted the offer of marriage from a much older man since she lacked the financial resources to care for her sister on her own. As part of his own research efforts, her husband takes the two women to the island in 1913. And then there is the American researcher, Dr. Greer Farraday, who has far more reason to "get away from it all," arriving in 1973. The "half" are brief chapters on Admiral Graf von Spee, and the fate of the German East Asiatic Squadron as it attempted to return to Germany at the beginning of World War I.

The author's erudition is dazzling, and none of the reviewers have indicated a mistake in her research. There is the pollen analysis of Farraday, and the work Beazley did, both in keeping her sister safe from the "eugenic" theories of the time, as well as trying to decipher the "rongorongo" script. Easter Island is one of the five places in the world that apparently evolved a written alphabet independently.

She is strong on insights into the human condition.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kehs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 May 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating story, beautifully written. Both main characters are betrayed by people they love and trust, and both story lines - although set in different times - take place on Easter island and link together very cleverly. Also brilliantly mixed in are interesting historical facts, scientific research and ecology of the island. I never expected to learn so much from this book, especially in such an entertaininng style. An impressive read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A reader on 20 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
Bought this book after visiting the Island, and I wasn't disappointed. From quite early on it becomes very hard to put down, making you want to learn more and more about the future and the past of the main characters. However I have to say, I was slightly disappointed with the ending. The final revelation, for me, just doesn't make sense. Maybe the author was planning a follow up book, I don't know. If she does though, I would certainly read it.

All in all, a good page turner.
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By Barry McCanna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
A pre First World War expedition to Easter Island by young sisters Elsa and Alice, and Elsa's much older husband Edward, find echoes over sixty years later, when the widowed Greer Farraday arrives on her own mission to analyse core samples. The location in both cases was chosen because Easter Island's remote location makes it the perfect place to subject Darwin's theory of evolution to close scrutiny. Don't let that put you off, because the scientific aspects are described in a way that makes them accessible. We learn much about the history of the island, the mysterious statues, and the impenetrable scripts, whilst remaining engrossed in the developing drama of the protagonists' lives. A fascinating story, beautifully told.
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