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The Ibis Tapestry Paperback – 30 Mar 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (30 Mar. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679780955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679780953
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,139,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born in Cape Town in 1951, Mike Nicol is the author of three previous novels, Horseman, This Day and Age, and The Powers That Be, and two works of nonfiction, A Good-Looking Corpse and The Waiting Country. He lives in Muizenberg, South Africa.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read the Ibis Tapestry during a recent visit to South Africa and was struck at how accurately the novel captures some of the complexities of the country in these post-apartheid times. If the main character, Christo Mercer, were real, he probably would have been telling his stories to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. I'm not sure how much I would have appreciated the novel without the benefit of my experiences in South Africa, but I think it is a compelling thriller and well worth reading in any event.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoy literary and political thrillers, and The Ibis Tapestry starts off as both. References to the murder victim's Elizabethan play-writer model cum hero, Christopher Marlowe, are numerous, and to the apparent similarities of their fates. Perhaps the similarities between the two become too contrived, as are the unanswered questions raised of the motives for their sudden deaths. Nicol skilfully plays with the political communality between Elizabethan England and contemporary South Africa as the backdrop of the plot. Open endings, in real life- as well as in thrillers are fine. Less satisfactory however, is the narrator's unexplained role in the plot.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great literary thriller novel for a book club. It features a mysterious hero, Christo Mercer, a South African gunrunner obsessed with Jacobean plays and particularly the tragedies of Christopher Marlowe. One of the strands of the book is the strange sympathy between events in Mercer's story and in Marlowe's Tamburlaine the Great. The tale moves between Christo's dreams and acts, the lives of African women in Djano, where he has been running guns, and research by Poleyinto what happened> Poley is a writer who receives a laptop computer from an anonymous source that contains what appears to be an autobiographical text by Christo. The novel traces the search to understand how and why Christo has died.

This might all seem rather strange, and strange is what this book is. But it is most exquisitely written, moody and thought-provoking. The first sentence captures the quality and intensity of the book: "This - once I'd shut out predatory professors, banshees, lawyers, meths-besotted itinerants - is how I imagine it: when Christo Mercer dreams of the death of the four girls for the second time, he is filled with an apprehension bordering on obsession."

Mike Nicol is a mighty talent, and I expect he will write even finer books, but if you like crafted novels, read it.
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