Matthew Kneale
English Passengers
August 14, 2019 Comments.. 238
English Passengers Christopher Columbus was looking for a passage to India when he ran full tilt boogie into the Americas One of the narrators of Matthew Kneale s ambitious historical novel English Passengers has modest
  • Title: English Passengers
  • Author: Matthew Kneale
  • ISBN: 9780141034973
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Paperback
  • Christopher Columbus was looking for a passage to India when he ran full tilt boogie into the Americas One of the narrators of Matthew Kneale s ambitious historical novel English Passengers has modest aspirations Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley wants only to smuggle a little tobacco, brandy, and French pornography from the Isle of Mann to a secluded beach in England.Christopher Columbus was looking for a passage to India when he ran full tilt boogie into the Americas One of the narrators of Matthew Kneale s ambitious historical novel English Passengers has modest aspirations Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley wants only to smuggle a little tobacco, brandy, and French pornography from the Isle of Mann to a secluded beach in England Yet somehow in the process, he and his crew end up weighing anchor for Australia Worse, they re forced to carry three temperamental Englishmen bound for Tasmania on a mission to discover the exact location of the Garden of Eden The year is 1857, and the study of geology is beginning to make serious inroads into areas of religious doctrine When the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson runs across a scientific treatise that puts the age of Silurian limestone somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand years, he is scandalized This was despite the fact that the Bible tells, and with great clarity, that the earth was created a mere six thousand years ago His many attempts to prove the Bible s accuracy lead, eventually, to a scientific expedition comprising himself, Timothy Renshaw, a dilettante botanist, and Dr Thomas Potter Now jump back 30 years, to 1828, when a revolution of sorts is stirring on the island of Tasmania Over the years, white settlers have been encroaching on aboriginal land and relations have deteriorated into violence At the heart of the action is Peevay, a young half breed abandoned by his aborigine mother, who had been kidnapped and raped by a white escaped convict Now his vengeful mother is leading a war against the whites, and Peevay, desperate to win her love, has joined her Chapters from the past narrated by Peevay and augmented by letters and dispatches from white settlers alternate with the sections told by Kewley, Wilson, Renshaw, and Potter Eventually, of course, the two time lines intersect with momentous results War, mutiny, shipwreck, and not a little farce make English Passengers a gripping read, but it is Matthew Kneale s literary ventriloquism that renders it remarkable In a novel with so many different points of view, the individuality of each voice stands out There is, for instance, the mutinous Dr Potter, whose descent into paranoia and egomania results in diary entries reminiscent of a 19th century psychotic Bridget Jones Manxmen treacherous even to v last Self heard Brew lashed to mainmast as per usual instructing helmsman to steer N.N.W When self questioned he re this he claiming we carried into Bay of Biscay by difficult sea currents must set course to avoid Breton Peninsular He pointing to distant point of land to N.N.E claiming this Brittany Self doubtful But perhaps the most compelling voice in English Passengers belongs to Peevay, who paints a vivid picture of aboriginal life in a foreign tongue he nonetheless makes his own When we sat so in the dark, after our eating, Tartoyen told us stories secret stories that I will not say even now about the moon and sun, and how everyone got made, from men and wallaby to seal and kangaroo rat and so Also he told who was in those rocks and mountains and stars, and how they went there Until, by and by, I could hear stories as we walked across the world, and divine how it got so, till I knew the world as if he was some family fellow of mine By the close of this epic tale, the world Peevay had known is gone forever and the lives of the Manx sailors and English passengers have been irrevocably changed Based on real events in Tasmanian history, Matthew Kneale s novel delivers a home truth about Australia s brutal colonial past, even as it conveys the wonder and allure of the age of exploration Alix Wilber
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      Matthew Kneale

    1 Blog on “English Passengers

    1. Fionnuala says:

      The last book I read in 2016 becomes the first I review in 2017 That sounds neat but it also sounds over obvious and not especially interesting what else should I review first, you might ask actually I reviewed little of what I read in November and December, and I ve already read three books in January so in that sense it is not as obvious as it might seem There are some neat things about this book too but some others that are over obvious and definitely not specially interesting and though I ve [...]

    2. Helle says:

      An immensely satisfying read and a literary adventure That s what this book was It began with the first line Say a man catches a bullet through his skull in somebody s war, so where s the beginning of that How can you not be pulled into a story that begins thus On top of that, the man behind this first line bears the auspicious name of Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley, and he is as delightful as his name suggests though you cannot see his piratical side from the name, but it is there Captain Kewl [...]

    3. Maciek says:

      Say a man catches a bullet through his skull in somebody s war, so where s the beginning of that This perfectly fine question is posed by captain Illiam Quillian Kewley at the beginning of English Passengers The year is 1857, and Kewley and his crew of Manx sailors only wished to transport some duty free liquor from the Isle of Man strategically located right in the middle of the Irish Sea to mainland England, where the ruthless British Customs officials were waiting for them to do just that, so [...]

    4. Cecily says:

      An excellently quirky, educational, thought provoking, and often humourous book that avoids being confusing despite multiple narrators or off putting when describing the shocking aspects of the near extinction of Aborigines in Tasmania and the views of white supremacists Even the potentially awkward mix of socio political themes and jolly japes worksOT Not saying than is on the back cover It is set in the 1800s and opens with the crew of Sincerity from the Isle of Man, intent on petty smugglin [...]

    5. Tea Jovanović says:

      Moderni klasik engleske knji evnosti Uzgred, autor je bio odu evljen time kako se po srpski pi e njegovo ime Metju Nil

    6. Martine says:

      English Passengers is one of the best novels I have ever read A story told by multiple narrators, it initially focuses on a Manx smuggling vessel which sets off for England only to get chartered to set sail to Van Diemen s Land Tasmania because some crazy reverend is convinced that Van Diemen s Land is the site of the Garden of Eden Among the ship s many larger than life passengers are the reverend himself, a doctor with some rather alarming racial theories and a captain desperate to keep his se [...]

    7. Jan-Maat says:

      This is one of the few books that I have given up on reading I had a strong sense of wrongness from many of the point of view POV characters and quickly began to skim read before skimming off the book all together.By wrongness I mean that the POVs seemed to me to strike false notes they didn t seem fictional enough to me All novels are constructed things Fiction is the deliberate choice of unreal elements to achieve the effect chosen by the author, but in this case it felt too obviously so for m [...]

    8. Judy says:

      Peevay s take BOOK started wonderfully BANG Like Manx gun All echoey bouncing off num WHITE MEN Scuts Captain Illiam Killian Kewley s take I came to the godforsaken island of Tasmania speaking my strange Manx tongue, with my Manx crew If I could have found a way to weigh anchor with the slebby preacher, Reverend Geoffrey Wilson, his nemesis, the snurly Dr Thomas Potter and the gorm, lazy bones, Timothy Renshaw attached, I would gladly have done so But instead fate put us all together in the Sinc [...]

    9. Penny says:

      This is a wonderfully original book A mix of history, intrigue and human suffering this is a unique book with an accessible story that is nevertheless literary.We follow several threads of this story first a vicar who is obsessed with finding the Garden of Eden in Tasmania He finds a rich benefactor who funds an expedition to find the garden Added to the expedition are a doctor with extreme racial views concerning mental attainment, scientific experimentation etc and a young man who is sent agai [...]

    10. Roger Brunyate says:

      Colonizing EdenThree Englishmen set out on a Manx sailing vessel to reach Tasmania One is a cleric who believes the island is the site of the Garden of Eden, another is a surgeon with pre Hitlerian ideas about racial stereotypes, and the third is a young botanist Interwoven with this is the story of the exploitation and near extermination of the aboriginal peoples at the hands of the English colonists, whether exploitative or well intentioned Taken together, the various interwoven stories, told [...]

    11. Metodi Markov says:

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    12. Ints says:

      Pie s gr matas es tiku blogeru Ziemassv tku apd vin an s laik MsMarii dom ja, ka ir t gr mata, kuru man noteikti vajadz tu izlas t Sol ja, ka taj b s ce ojums uz Tasm niju un daudz humora Tasm nijas aborig ni un koloniz cija patie m ir viens no maniem m kajiem v stures tematiem, un t d gr matu pas t ju nekav joties ori in lvalod Ar las anu gan tik raiti neveic s, nevar ju sa emties Ja god gi, tad es labpr t b tu vi u pircis ar latviski, ta u par da izdevuma eksistenci uzzin ju tikai tad, kad gr [...]

    13. Matthew Quann says:

      Engaging, challenging, witty, and multifaceted, English Passengers is a thrilling, albeit drawn out, romp Jumping between an immense cast of characters and following to separate storylines, Kneale s novel is nothing if not ambitious Indeed, the alternating narratives with their disparate casts would be taxing enough on any reader, but the novel also alternates its style for each and every character who serves as a POV While the opening stretch of the novel proved to be quite tedious, I soon foun [...]

    14. Kelly says:

      The beginning of this book LIES I love the opening character, Captain Illiam Quilliam Kewley He is a fabulous, interesting, quirky guy who you want to curl up in front of a fire and spend time with However the problem is that he doesn t narrate than a 1 4 of the book Author LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE tries to draw you in with this good time guy and then slams you with Tasmanian savages in chapters written in an insane dialect that requires a good strong shot of bourbon to get through, stories of t [...]

    15. Lucie Novak says:

      Very unusual, brilliant book Witty, fast pacing The characters, none of them very nice, apart from some of the aborigines are very much alive Smugglers from Isle of Man, crazy preacher, ex convicts, Tasmanian people, an unpleasant racist doctor, many others tell their stories in separate chapters, written in first person, and the story comes together, like a quilt.It made me think about racism, how somehow, it is almost always the USA that gets mentioned.Yet, British, and later Australian racism [...]

    16. Vit Babenco says:

      The narration of English Passengers is situated on the two levels The first is the high farce of the seafaring expedition in search of Eden Out through the door I went and behind me I heard what wasn t any kind of word at all, but a kind of well spoken howl Well, given the right day I can be swift enough on my feet Down those stairs I went, leaping three at a time, then through that sitting room window clean as a ball through a barrel, and till I was dashing away towards the river The rest of th [...]

    17. Steve says:

      High 5 This novel is Dickensian in its scope of characters and is a masterful feat of the interweaving of satire with a tragic yet deftly handled historical portrait of the genocide of the aborigines of Tasmania Kneale accomplishes this through a sea of narrators and clever use of journals, diaries and official reports He does so alternating two distinct narratives following their own projectory before allowing them to converge ariving at a denouement which is sublime in how it metes out a fate [...]

    18. Ensiform says:

      A historical novel set in the 19th century, this novel tells the intertwined stories of a shipload of Manx bootleggers an expedition to find the garden of Eden in Tasmania, led by a misguided, pompous parson, and including a sinister doctor whose theories on racial types motivate him and the plight of the Tasmanian aborigines whom the English killed, corralled and civilized, focusing on one Peevay, a half caste.A superb, amazing adventure of a book it s hilarious at times, using a multi narrativ [...]

    19. Bettie☯ says:

      view spoiler Bettie s Books hide spoiler

    20. Usha Alexander says:

      This is one of the best books I ve read in ages resonant, entertaining, and affecting At the first level of craft, Kneale s ability to make distinctive and authentic nearly every one of it s full chorus of voices is masterful But it s than that The book s narrative follows two separate trajectories which intersect only briefly, towards the end of the book, and then again diverge they could well have been two separate books However, telling us these two stories in parallel brings us different in [...]

    21. Ana Ovejero says:

      This narrative is truly a historical adventure The reader can feel the salt of the sea wind throughout the whole story along the humorous and dramatic moments lived by an expedition full of colourful characters.It is the year 1857 and a voyage is leaving to Tasmania as it is believed to be heaven on earth literally One of the leaders is Reverend Geoffrey Wilson, who is hoping to find the true site of the Garden of Eden Through letters and journals, he communicates his feelings and ideas as he fa [...]

    22. Travelin says:

      Lazy, simpleminded, almost unremmittingly tedious, although occasionally farcical, sometimes even funny, it s Hollywood action if it was written by a modestly sized Brit in longhand Most of the casual racism exists in what s missing.Before I quarter this book to keep the horses warm, a word about the author You might want to turn away now, if you can t handle the truth Many months ago I d read half of some collection of his short stories and was left with the impression moralist, trying too hard [...]

    23. Bill Keefe says:

      I m not sure how qualified I am to review a book beyond saying that I really liked it, adding perhaps a comparative, like, I really liked it than the great majority of books I ve read in my life A wonderful story well defined characters you want to follow for a long time, a plot that moves along at a good pace and insight into a period of history and part of the world I knew little about Not being able to predict the ending is a plus, though it s not a book where you re reading just to find out [...]

    24. Smokinjbc says:

      English Passengers by Matthew Kneale is a fast moving, incredible tale of a journey made by Manx smugglers who are forced to take boorish English passengers on an expedition to find the Garden of Eden in Tasmania Each turn of the journey is characterized by bad luck, creative cursing and general head butting on all accounts The book features a different viewpoint every 5 10 pages,give or take, and you may find yourself cheating the cliffhangers to find out if a viewpoint you enjoy has met an unt [...]

    25. Tim says:

      The multiple voice first person narrative is difficult to pull off shifting perspectives can destroy momentum, at the very least breaking up the rhythm And if there aren t distinctive voices, the reader is left wondering What was the point of this approach Matthew Kneale s English Passengers does have a bit of the herky jerky to it, but, if you re going to take the narrative approach he does if memory serves, there are than 20 different narrators it s hard to imagine it being done better 4.5 st [...]

    26. Kristen says:

      Lots of glowing reviews from friends got me excited to read English Passengers, and it didn t disappoint This novel about an ill fated expedition to search for the Garden of Eden in Tasmania takes the voice of many narrators, some contributing only a single chapter and a core handful returning several times The characters we get to know best include a few great ones Illiam Quillian Kewley is a Manx smuggler with a wry sense of humor and a philosophical attitude toward the many mishaps that befal [...]

    27. Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk) says:

      A true, unforgettable wonder A literary masterpiece with a great historic touch that brings the beginning of 19th century back to life The age of collonialism, of conquer and dominance Of great fight between faith and science Of death and sorrow of smaller nations, tribes that should never had been discovered Here is a sad story of Tasmania and its last call for independance Mathhew Kenale s novel is rich, moving with many voices to hear.

    28. Rennie says:

      English colonizers of Tasmania Again British conquerors land and the battle of ideals that ensued but the location is a new one for me Interesting read.

    29. Ubik 2.0 says:

      Babel on the rocks Il passeggero inglese titolo chiss perch tradotto al singolare, rispetto al The English Passengers dell originale ben pi coerente con la trama un romanzo bizzarro, ispirato dall ambizioso proposito dell autore di destreggiarsi contemporaneamente su vari livelli una polifonia di voci di innumerevoli personaggi, tutti narranti in prima persona, espressione di svariate nazioni, popoli, religioni, addirittura razze un complicato romanzo di avventure che va letteralmente in capo al [...]

    30. Natalie Tyler says:

      This is an ALMOST 5 star review This is a Dickensian adventure voyage quest historical book about almost everything The bare bones is that we have many narrators and modes of narration The story reels from satire to revelations of genocide from sweeping adventure to historical indictment This book is fiction but the historical genocide of the aborigines of Tasmania is not Some of the characters are loveable in a Dickensian way funny eccentrics Other seek adventure and a bit of profit Others are [...]

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