‘A travel writer of rare heart and freshness’
‘Dervla Murphy belongs firmly to that fine tradition of eccentric women travellers… endearingly self-deprecating’
From the Back Cover
'Everything about Madagascar is surprising', as Dervla and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Rachel, found to their delight. Despite accidents, misadventures and political instability they arrived at Antananarivo, the Great Red Island's capital, and journeyed south by foot, bush-taxi, bus and truck through the Ankaratra Mountains, sought out the island's famed lemur population in the Isoala Massif, sojurned amongst the Vezo fishermen of the west coast, trekked 400 miles through the hazardous Spiny Desert and explored the rain forests of the Betsimisaraka tribesmen.
Madagascar is neither here nor there: neither part of Africa, its nearest neighbour, nor part of Asia from where the ancestors of the Malagasy migrated. Most of the island's flora and fauna is unique – as are its people, with their distinctive cultural traditions. With her unique brand of fortitude and perception, Dervla Murphy has combined this account of her most accident-prone and comical journey with the remarkable history, complex religion and sometimes baffling culture of the Malagasy people, whom she describes as 'the most loveable people I have ever travelled among.'
"Both a revelatory look at a richly mysterious country and a traveller's tale that keeps its grip every bump of the way"
"The book… presents a rare glimpse of the Malagasy peasant life and the impact of the [country's] severe economic decline"