Like Nabokov, Rikki Ducornet delights in the use of vibrant language. Unlike Nabokov, she has been hiding in plain sight for years. I had to ask myself why I haven’t read her work before. What took me so long?
Segments of this novel reminded me of the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. (Especially the use of inventions as a source of wonder, i. e. the juxtaposition of science and magic). The world the author invents is full of surprise and delight, myths and images that linger in the mind. The atmosphere is masterfully conjured and book is short and poetic: as digestible as one of Marquez’s shorter works. Its characters exist in a mystic alternate reality, where Jonathan Swift existed, but the trappings of the every day world have fallen away. Like Gulliver’s Travels, this book engages the reader’s imagination in a discussion of the outer limits of animal and botanical diversity, presenting us with variance and variety until our senses are awash. At the same time it hints with a subtle comment or two that society’s strictures and mankind’s foolish confidence are not as foolproof as we might imagine.
This book is more about texture, language, imagery, symbols and theme than it is about character. The caricatures within it are more vehicles for the colors and erotic underpinnings than typical people. Ducornet casts the spell of an enchantress with her intense evocations of island life, and I wanted the book to go on longer. Luckily, her other works are supposedly a treasure trove of similar delectations.
Lush imagery, man versus the animal kingdom, man versus man, historical aura, and finally, shamelessness!
Read something different for once, try out this novel!