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|Format:||Paperback / softback|
The demon-centered culture of remote hill tribes in New Guinea is the background for much of this exotic novel, the first to be published in the U.S. by Australian playwright Nowra. As he traces the development of Palu, a girl from the highlands who breaks her tribal taboos, into a woman who influences the development of her country as an independent nation, Nowra also develops parallel themes of black/white relationships in the clash of ancient and modern worlds. Palu's precocious sexuality flowers first under the tutelage of an elderly white coffee planter exiled from Australia, who introduces her to Western ways. Later, preparing to become a teacher, Palu meets her soul mate, Emo, a brilliant youth who becomes president of the island on a platform of humanistic ideals, but eventually becomes a despot, corrupted by Australian mentors. Palu's passionate nature, imbued with dark impulses and supported by spiritual alliances with creatures from the underworld, centers this novel in a vibrant framework of decline and death. (Feb.)