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Indigo Or Mapping The Waters [Paperback]

Marina Warner
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

18 Feb 1993
Inspired by The Tempest, Indigo traces the scars of colonialism across continents, family blood-lines and three centuries. Rich, sensual and magical in its use of myths and fairytales Indigo explores the intertwined histories of the Everard family and the imaginary Caribbean island where Ariel, Caliban, and his mother, the healer and dyer of indigo, Sycorax once lived.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (18 Feb 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009915451X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099154518
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 442,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A complex, glittering book" (The Times)

"An extraordinary imaginative achievement" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Indigo explores the nature of power, the human cost of Empire and the theme of dislocation... Vivid, gripping, intelligent" (Independent on Sunday)

"Her prose has never been so lyrical, as she yokes Shakespearean references, colonial history and her own sensual experience of the Caribbean with a powerful feminine myth-making" (Independent)

Book Description

A strikingly original interpretation of the historical and imaginative landscape of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in parts 12 Dec 2011
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very interesting if somewhat frustrating novel about colonialization, using Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', various fairy stories and real-life political incidents as inspiration. Warner's fourth novel is set in a series of imaginary Caribbean islands, partly in the past (in the 16th century, I think) and partly in the 20th century. The Everard family, descended from Elizabethan explorer Kit Everard, once owned two islands in the Caribbean (invented by Warner, but loosely based on a couple of the smaller islands in the West Indies). Over the years the Everards maintain close links with the islands, and eventually Xanthe,one of the last surviving Everards, goes back there to live. The story of the modern-day Everards: Sir Anthony the patriarch, his young wife Gillian, Kit, his melancholy son from his first marriage, Kit's depressive and anorexic wife Astrid, their eager-to-please daughter Miranda and Xanthe, Sir Anthony's 'golden-girl' daughter' forms the outer sections of the book - a lengthy section in the middle is devoted to Kit Everard's arriving on one of the paradisical Caribbean islands and his subduing of its inhabitants. This is where the 'Tempest' references come in: Sycorax, Caliban (called Dule by his own people) and Ariel are all inhabitants of the island, and bear some relation, though not much, to their Shakespearean namesakes. And in the present-day sections the use of the name 'Miranda' maintains the 'Tempest' links.

This is a book with some wonderful bits to it. I particularly enjoyed some of the modern sections: the depiction of London from the end of World War II through to the 1960s and on to the 1980s, Miranda's relationships with Xanthe and with the Everards' Afro-Caribbean maidservant Serafine and Kit's memories of his childhood on the islands.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing 22 Mar 2011
I wanted to like this book because, really, I want to applaud anyone with the ambition to use a Shakespeare play as the starting point for a novel. And this novel starts off well. I found the first half of it to be interesting and engaging, but unfortunately it seemed to lose its way somewhere and I ended up thinking that this is really a 250-page book that's been stretched to nearly 400. The other thing that began to bug me was that it does not really have anything very original to say. If you are familiar with books by Jean Rhys, VS Naipaul and other Caribbean writers, then you won't find anything new here.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Am I Blue 14 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great title and a great subject which has been thoroughly researched. The pity of it is that it's badly written.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not a review, just a comment 13 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was a set book, so not one of my own choice. I thought it went on a bit is someplaces.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sluggish discourse on colonization 29 Mar 2012
By Kevin F. Tasker - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Marina Warner's descriptive, time-splitting book is overlong, turgid and occasionally revelatory. The dual plot threads concern the effects of colonization in a small island called Enfant-Beate where a mystical woman creates the titular substance in an equally enigmatic process that once might describe as beautiful. The island portions of the novel share this beauty. They are by far the most interesting sections. Unfortunately, the reach them, the reader must also delve through disheveled, confusing and ultimately bland depictions of a young girl named Miranda in more-modern times coming to terms with her family's past of colonization. The faulty nature of Miranda's previous understanding of her family as somehow noble creates the narrative's principle focus. But it takes quite a long while to get there.
David Rudd argues children's literature operates with an inherent awareness of cultural hybridity, quoting Hoban's 1975 Turtle Diary, which states "each new generation of children has to be told: "`This is the world'....maybe the constant fear is that a generation of children will come along and say, "This is not the world'" (Rudd 21). This new understanding of the constructed world, according to Rudd, in children's literature, is "expressive [in an]...uneasy transaction along borders, in which something other is gradually brought within, melding into adulthood" (21). By Rudd's definition then, Marina Warner's Indigo is a children's book in that Miranda Everard's perception of her constructed self changes through the blurring of familial myth and history as she and her sister chart their clan's dark colonial past. Though Sy, sister Xanthe's intended, claims soon after the girls' arrival on Enfant-Beate that "`Nothing was achieved here, except the slave system...Nothing will be, either, in the sense that you and I mean--art, music, the life of the mind, culture, society'" (304), the effects of the cultural cataclysm of slavery run more personally deep in Miranda, remaining an integral piece of her identity she would rather not like to bear. Early on, she is comforted by her father Kit's "fragments about land and battles, home farms and far plantations where tobacco and sugar grew, the exploits of Ant Everard...famous scores and games" (73) all while a deadly fog churns in from above. By the novel's end and Xanthe's downfall as hotel owner, Miranda's illusions have been shattered as she realizes in"the real world of the end of the century, breakage and disconnect were the only possible outcome" (391). Miranda, in effect, is sidled with a dual consciousness: one of innocent childhood where her family's exploits were romanticized, and a growing adult awareness of the falsity of that world in light of her expanding knowledge of colonialism and her family's role in it.
Despite this, the novel remains sluggish and never quite reaches the full potential created by its ancient-times sequences which rollick and roar with swashbuckling aplomb, enriched by the beauty of nature.
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