A strikingly original interpretation of the historical and imaginative landscape of Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Marina Warner spent her early years in Cairo, and was educated at a convent in Berkshire, and then in Brussels and London, before studying modern languages at Oxford. She is an internationally acclaimed cultural historian, critic, novelist and short story writer. From her early books on the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc, to her bestselling studies of fairy tales and folk stories, From the Beast to the Blonde and No Go the Bogeyman, her work has explored different figures in myth and fairy tale and the art and literature they have inspired. She lectures widely in Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and is currently Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex. She was appointed CBE in 2008.
The award-winning British novelist ( The Lost Father ) and feminist critic ( Monuments and Maidens ) produces a tour de force with this lavishly imaginative and sophisticated work. Invading and colonizing The Tempest , she restores Sycorax, Shakespeare's ``blue-eyed hag,'' to power on an indigo-producing Caribbean island at the time of its 17th-century ``discovery'' by the British. While Prospero remains unidentified, Caliban and Ariel are her foster children; Miranda is born three centuries later in WW II London, a descendant of the island's British conqueror. But invasion--literary, political, sexual--constitutes only one of many themes. An epigraph, from Derek Walcott's Omeros , begins, ``Men take their colors as the trees do from their native soil''; this novel's sections, named after colors (like the novel itself), take their hues from Warner's ineffably sensuous descriptions of the island, suggesting a non-chronological approach to historical narrative--the indigo-stained Sycorax's way of seeing. Into this already lush ground, Warner introduces the gripping, cannily rendered story of Miranda and her attempts to address a problematic psychological legacy and to participate in establishing a new order. Consistently inventive, complex in its implications, this is an altogether dazzling achievement. (Richard Wiley's novel Indigo , published by Dutton, is reviewed in this issue.) (Sept.)
"A complex, glittering book" * The Times *
"An extraordinary imaginative achievement" * Times Literary Supplement *
"Indigo explores the nature of power, the human cost of Empire and the theme of dislocation... Vivid, gripping, intelligent" * Independent on Sunday *
"Her prose has never been so lyrical, as she yokes Shakespearean references, colonial history and her own sensual experience of the Caribbean with a powerful feminine myth-making" * Independent *