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Archipelago: a problem Paperback – 15 Nov 2015
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G H Neale’s obvious intelligence is plain to see from the first page, but the profundity of his characters and the potency of his storytelling is all the more remarkable because it is quite uncommon for a debutant to be this brazen. He writes expansively with an array of references. Even the title of the book is crafted with a philosophical tilt at the human condition. Communities are archipelagos, after all.
I choose my books carefully, and I am delighted this has come my way after some initial reluctance. ‘Archipelago’ now occupies a permanent place on my book shelves. How this has gone unnoticed by the much of the literati is anybody’s guess, but I suppose this is a sign of our desiccated times. Probably it’s a slow burner, but one you definitely should purchase now and be among those who will say ‘Well, I told you so’ later.
Initially I was confused, disappointed almost, as the book does not begin in any dramatic way until I realized that I was reading as the author, in this case an emigre from the Galapagos Islands, is becoming a better writer as the book proceeds, like the matryoshka doll she mentions - G H Neale has placed a poet inside the main character and she is writing the book that I was reading. This disjointedness mimes the concept of separation and community – the human archipelago. I guess it is difficult to explain but structurally its uniqueness is quite brilliant. I have not read anything quite like it. You should too. Five Out of Five for me.
Mr. Neale has easily demonstrated his mastery of the English language. Each character has a point of view and all are expressed, so let the mingling commence.
I rate -Archipelago- A Problem 4.9 of 5 stars!