Manly Pursuits

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Mar 16, 2000 - Fiction - 352 pages
1 Review

A rich and evocative novel about fidelity and betrayal, exploitation and colonialism.

Cape Town, 1899. Cecil Rhodes, the great imperialist and diamond tycoon, believes that he has only months to live, and that the only thing that can save him is the sound of English birdsong in the South African countryside surrounding his Cape residence.

"The Colossus," as Rhodes is known throughout South Africa, recruits Francis Wills, an Oxford don and the world's leading expert in birdsong, to transport two hundred British songbirds-blackbirds, nightingales, chaffinches, robins and starlings-by sea from Southampton to the Cape Province. But the birds, confused by the change of season and hemisphere, refuse to sing. This is but the first obstacle for Wills, who finds himself irresistibly drawn to intrigue-romantic, political, and ornithological-in a country on the brink of war.

Ann Harries' splendid first novel is cast with a host of sharply drawn real-life characters, among them Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll who are friends of Wills' in England, and Rudyard and Mrs. Kipling, intimates of Rhodes in his imperialist oasis.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

MANLY PURSUITS

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Harries's first novel is a triumph: a captivating, intelligent work taking the reader to the South Africa of Cecil Rhodes, in 1899, a region on the brink of war. In an elegant merging of idea and ... Read full review

Manly Pursuits

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Historical fiction enthusiasts will enjoy this narrative of South Africa during an era of imminent war between the British and Boers. First novelist Harries's story, while occasionally obscure for ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

CAPE TOWN 1899
3
OXFORD 1870
22
CAPE TOWN 1899
28
OXFORD 1870
38
CAPE TOWN 1899
45
VOYAGE
61
CAPE TOWN 1899
71
CAPE TOWN 1899
79
LONDON 1885
189
GREAT GRANARY 1899
200
GREAT GRANARY 1899
220
OXFORD 1891
231
GREAT GRANARY 1899
236
GREAT GRANARY 1899
241
OXFORD 1895
254
GREAT GRANARY 1899
262

OXFORD 1874
96
CAPE TOWN 1899
102
CHILDHOOD
112
CAPE TOWN 1899
131
HINKSEY 1874
144
CAPE TOWN 1899
157
OLIVE REVEALS A SECRET
162
Part Two
177
GREAT GRANARY 1899
179
MISS SCHREINER TELLS ANOTHER STORY
285
OXFORD 1898
292
GREAT GRANARY 1899
297
GREAT GRANARY 1899
306
ENGLAND 1895
320
GREAT GRANARY 1899
325
CLAPHAM JUNCTION 1895
326
CAPE TOWN 1899
329
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Ann Harries was born and educated in Cape Town, where she taught for several years and was involved in the anti-apartheid movement. She now lives in the Cotswolds, England, where she teaches music to visually impaired children.

Bibliographic information