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Promised Lands Paperback – 2 Nov 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (2 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034911322X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349113227
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,381,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Ambitiously conceived and brilliantly realized (THE TIMES)

Sublime ... A haunting and passionate novel, beautifully related, with some of the best passages of descriptive writing I have read for a long time (INDEPENDENT)

Compelling, elegantly written, acutely intelligent and thoughtful (TIME OUT)

One of Jane Roger's many strengths as a literary novelist is her ability to blend fact and fiction entertainingly and almost seamlessly...a distinctive, dynamic work that explores the nature of all types of exile. (GOOD HOUSEKEEPING)

Book Description

* Jane Rogers intertwines the powerful dramas of the first year of the convict-colony with present-day lives in her classic novel

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I got interested in the aborigines after reading ' The Secret River' which was very good. This book would have been better I think as 2 separate stories rather than trying to weave backwards and forwards between two different times. I have given 2 stars because the bit set in australia in the past was quite good, but the present day bit was pretty irritating and unengaging. Reading other reviews, I am wondering if we were reading the same book.
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By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
William Dawes is one of the first Englishmen to set foot on Australia. He's been sent to set up an astrological observatory to study the skies in the southern hemisphere. He travels on the first convict ship sent out and the story encompasses the clearing of the land and the building of a settlement in what is later to become the city of Sydney. William is a moral individual and he doesn't agree with the cruelty and callousness with which the convicts are treated, still less with the way the native people are regarded as ignorant, savage children who can be patronised and brutalised with impunity.

The book has a double focus - partly on William and partly on modern-day Stephen who is writing Dawes' story after coming to grief as a deputy head in a comprehensive school - his politics took over and the local press did the rest as his experimental ideas of equality between children and teachers failed dismally.

Stephen's wife is Olla, an ex-chambermaid and refugee from Poland. Olla wants only children, house, security but her children are born handicapped. Timothy, her first, dies after a few months, but her second, Daniel, she feels sure will live. Her attitude to Daniel is extraordinary. Under the guise of his disability Olla senses extra-sensory powers and when brain activity much stronger than expected is detected in Daniel it seems she might be right to have such faith. But are we, as readers, expected to believe that the child is something special? I don't think so. Olla is clearly not all there, but at the same time her belief in Daniel is heroic - against the odds she seems to have succeeded in drawing more from him than could ever have been expected, given his disabilities.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this a lot. The story of William, the lead character, is beautifully told, though that of Stephen (his descendent) a little less so. He evokes the hardship of the first landings very well, and William's emotional and psychological struggles bind the narrative really well. Not perfect by any means, but well worth a read both as a good yarn and a history lesson.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I chose this book because I had recently read The Testament of Jessie Lamb. I had loved it so wanted to read more of Rogers' work. I read it on my phone which I will never do again because it took me months to finish. I will say no more than there are times it seemed frustrating but if I had read it over a few days, I'd have understood sooner. It's excellent.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars fine read 6 Oct. 2012
By iain stewart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is actually two stories that run concurrently. The beginnings of white Australia at Botany Bay and the life of a man and woman in contemporary England. The man is a teacher. The Botany bay part is fantastic. The England bit so, so.
5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve years later, I remember how much I liked it! 9 Jan. 2013
By ShadyLady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My spouse mentioned something about Australia this morning, and I immediately remembered that I had read a great historical novel set in Australia. Here are the notes I had made to myself in my reading journal: Wow! What an entrancing novel. It's about the very first settlers in Sydney, Australia, in 1788, convicts, marines and individuals from England. And the story of the "author" of the accounting, and his wife, and their brain-damaged infant were woven through. I didn't want to put it down. I completed it 5/28/00. [I wish the Kindle version were available for my sight-impaired spouse to read it on his Kindle DX.]
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written, great story, and provocative 14 Mar. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My sister, the professor of English and sometime novelist, told me that this was a good book. She stopped short of recommemding that I read it, probably because she knows that most of my reading is done on airplanes and consists of mysteries and science fiction. "It's an interesting book," she said, "it's supposed to be about a deformed child," she paused, "...but it's not, not really. It's more than that." I started to read the book on an airplane, partly to prove to my more literate sister that I could read something serious, at least occasionally. Unlike the usual mysteries and science fiction, I did not put this book down when I got home. The writing is wonderful and the story is a whopper. The book is about families, late 20th Century Europe and the founding of Australia; it's about different people trying to do the same thing, trying to change the world so that it suits them. But, not really...It's more than that
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling history 28 April 1998
By Janelle Hyatt (ibrodn@slkc.uswest.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've always been drawn to books that juxtapose our contempory world with a bygone historical world. That was what drew me initially to Jane Rogers' novel. I ended up reading it strictly for the historical sections. I followed Dawes' endeavors and evolving social conscious with delight. The sections featuring the latter-day Olla and Stephen at first appeared to be promising, but soon dwindled to insignificance. The deformed child was like a sore thumb, distracting from what seemed the book's true purpose. However, Stephen's comparisons of his own self with Dawes were intriguing. I would recommend this book only to those who love a good historical tale. I'm glad I read it.
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