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The Island: Martinique (National Geographic Directions series) Hardcover – 1 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Books (1 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792265335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792265337
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,548,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Edgar Wideman is the only author to have won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice--for the novel "Sent for You Yesterday" in 1984, and for "Philadelphia Fire" in 1990. He is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the American Book Award, the MacArthur Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. His latest book, the acclaimed memoir, "Hoop Roots, "was published in 2001.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jun 2004
Format: Hardcover
The first thing the potential reader should know about The Island is that it is a typical Wideman, that is high, (post)modern(ist) literature. Although a good deal of fact transpires about Martinique's history as a European colony, the heavier slant of the book is fiction. Do not expect a travel guide here that can give you some valuable inputs for your next holidays.
Wideman presents himself as an outsider to an alien culture, and yet at the same time his hybrid position of being an outsider on the island and of being an outsider in his homecountry (the US) reverberates. Also, in many instances, Wideman does not tell the island's story but the story of the protaginist's (arguably himself) relationship to Catherine, a person who, due to her French origins, also has a special relation to Martinique. It is especially the description of this interhuman relationship which sometimes fails to intermingle with the (hi)story of the island. The instances of how the aura of the island affects the lovers' situation seems a bit unconvincing at times.
All in all (once again) Wideman has produced an interesting book, but I feel that especially his texts about North American city/ghetto life (Philadelphia Fire, Two Cities, Hoop Roots, Brothers and Keepers) are more rewarding.
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By M. Baroni on 26 Oct 2007
Format: Hardcover
There is nothing about Martinique, this book is just a serie of weirdo mental pictures of the author, very difficult to follow, and honestly not interesting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
John Donne was wrong... 11 Sep 2007
By Giordano Bruno - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Edgar Wideman plainly considers himself "an island entire unto himself". Foolish me, I interpreted the title of this book to mean that The Island in question was Martinique, and on that basis I bought the book to read on a flight to Fort de France. Even with nothing else to read but the in-flight shopping mag, I couldn't get past page 37 of this pretentious, self-indulgent, narcissistic tour of the hotel bedrooms of the Caribbean. I'll put myself at risk by confessing that I thought seriously about sky-jacking the plane to the nearest news stand. Sample:

"Silence as a counterpoint, counterweight to the fugue of many voices, many languages buzzing imperiously, incomprehensibly around you. Silence as an answer. A rejoinder to chaos."

A hundred sixty-five pages of such bombast! Think of it! Without even an in-flight Adam Sandler movie to take refuge in!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
No idea. 2 Feb 2013
By Meviews - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Liked the other travel books by Nat Geo Directions. Couldn't tell what this one was about. Interesting subject to look up in a different book.
Bad writing 28 Aug 2013
By David Vu - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disgusting. Pornography in disguise. I read a few pages and throw the book in the trash can. This book deserves O star definitely.
Dont even think about it, total waste of time 13 Feb 2013
By leeroy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book by my daughter in law who was fooled as I was by the cover and the title, and the reference to National Geo. I have a home in the caribbean and so the subject is of great interest to me.
It took me 25 or so pages to find that the book was anything but useful to anyone wanting to know about Martinique. In a word its "awful" a farce a sham,poorly written and I agree completely with the other 2 reviews. Do not waste your money.
Had my well meaning daughter in law read these reviews she would never have purchased the book.
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