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Heaven's Edge


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A modern odyssey. A gripping adventure and a moving love story. HEAVEN'S EDGE is the thrilling new novel from Booker shortlisted Romesh Gunesekara. Romesh Gunesekera's admirers include Michael Ondaatje, Barbara Trapido and Philip Hensher. 'Powerful and compelling ... Gunesekera has created a palpable, terrifying world that, for all the precariousness of its beauty, harbours love and hope' GUARDIAN

About the Author

Romesh Gunesekera grew up in Sri Lanka and now lives in London. His first novel REEF was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the GUARDIAN Fiction Prize. He is also the author of MONKFISH MOON, a collection of short stories and most recently, THE SANDGLASS.


Set on an environmentally devastated tropical island that resembles his native Sri Lanka, Gunesekera's new novel follows a Londoner named Marc, who comes to the island to find his father but instead gets caught up in a passionate affair with an ecological activist. When he arrives at the country's only hotel, the run-down Palm Beach Inn, Marc encounters a scarred landscape nothing like the idyllic pictures painted by his grandfather Eldon, a native who moved to London in his youth. Marc's attempts to find his father, who disappeared here when Marc was a child, come to naught, but his lover, Uva, opens new doors as she teaches Marc about her efforts to continue farming against the wishes of the island's repressive regime. Government troops begin tracking Uva, and soon soldiers attack and destroy Uva's farm. Marc is imprisoned in a government compound but manages to escape. Once he tracks down Uva's erotically preoccupied bisexual friend, Jaz, and a metalworker named Kris who has pivotal ties to Uva's past, the three embark on a quest to find Uva. The search has moments of both breathtaking suspense-e.g., the trio rebuilds a damaged plane to escape pursuing soldiers-and quiet introspection, as Marc reflects on his ambivalence toward this land. The novel's structure is a bit cliched, but there's a spark in Gunesekera's writing that gives his characters life; the affair between Marc and Una is especially rich and subtle. Gunesekera has explored these cultures and themes in his earlier books, notably Reef, which was shortlisted for the Booker, but the compelling romance makes this one of his best efforts. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

An exquisitely written magical odyssey about Marc who, in search of a dream, leaves London for the island where his grandfather was born and his father's plane was shot down in flames. There he falls in love with the subversive eco-warrior Uva but when she disappears, Marc embarks on a final terrifying journey.

In an almost epic quest to discover and understand both his homeland and himself, Marc returns from England to the unnamed tropical island from whence his family came. He feels displaced and dissatisfied until he meets Uva, an environmental activist who offers him color and enlightenment-but at a terrible price. For through his relationship with her, he is lured into the subversive underworld of those who dare to challenge the authority of the island's warlords. Much of this book describes the terrible dichotomy of a place, based on the author's native Sri Lanka, that in its natural beauty is truly at the edge of heaven yet in its political and social strife teeters on the edge of hell. Gunesekera, whose first novel, Reef, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994, writes in a lyrical and evocative style, but the violence that ensnares his characters seems to despoil the beauty of the prose. While the intent may be to shock the reader from complacency, it creates a pacing challenge: this is an adventure story containing kernels of truth that, if developed differently and with the writer's obvious talent with words, could have resulted in a deeper novel. As such, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Recommended only where demand warrants purchase.-Caroline Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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