Natives and Exotics

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Harcourt, 2005 - Fiction - 238 pages
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A gardener flees the violence of the Clearances in early nineteenth-century Scotland for the Portuguese Azores, unaware that he will have a hand in destroying the earthly paradise he finds there. In 1929 his great-great-granddaughter, helping to settle the wilds of Australia, confronts troubling traces of her country's past. Forty years later her own granddaughter is ravished by the beauty of a South American country her diplomat parents are engaged in despoiling.

In the manner of W. G. Sebald's The Emigrants, the novel follows these three characters, linked by blood and legacy, through four stories that span a period from the discovery of the first dinosaur bones to the unsettling revelation that the continents drift. With cameo appearances by Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin, Natives and Exotics is a hypnotic meditation on our passionate, uneasy affair with nature, in which we restlessly search for home.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

The complexity of story-delivery that worked so well in Alison's The Marriage of the Sea (2003) tends toward the reductive here, causing message to intrude on telling.Alison divides a long saga of ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

JANE ALISON is the author of The Love-Artist and The Marriage of the Sea. Born in Canberra, Australia, she grew up in the foreign service and the United States. She now lives in Germany and teaches in the MFA program at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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