John Gimlette (Jesus, 1982)
In this compelling and elegant travel memoir, John Gimlette returns to Guyana, the Wild Coast in South America, to discover his ancestral colonial history – one of brutal, cruel and often uncomfortable truths.
Between the Orinoco and the Amazon lies a fabulous forested land, barely explored. Much of Guiana seldom sees sunlight, and new species are often tumbling out of the dark. Shunned by the conquistadors, it was left to others to carve into colonies. Guyana, Suriname and Guyane Française are what remain of their contest, and the 400 years of struggle that followed.
Now, award-winning author John Gimlette sets off along this coast, gathering up its astonishing story. His journey takes him deep into the jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to penal colonies, outlandish forts, remote Amerindian villages, a ‘Little Paris’ and a space port. He meets rebels, outlaws and sorcerers; follows the trail of a vicious Georgian revolt, and ponders a love-affair that changed the face of slavery. Here too is Jonestown, where, in 1978, over 900 Americans committed suicide. The last traces are almost gone now, as the forest closes in.
Beautiful, bizarre and occasionally brutal, this is one of the great forgotten corners of the Earth: the Wild Coast.
Publication date: 2 February 2011
Added: 3 February 2011
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