English Passengers: A Novel [Matthew Kneale] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his. Steven Poole is bowled over by the panache of a Matthew Kneale’s novel, English Passengers, with its 21 narrators. Instead of getting meat cooking on the fire, which was my great desire, I got a war . I never saw one before, no, but I heard stories from Tartoyen.

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Kneale’s mattheq technique permits a good deal of irony and even outright humor, and his inclusion of the Manx sea captain and part-time smuggler among these voices adds the picaresque flavor of a sea yarn. Many months ago I’d read half of some collection of his short stories and was left with the impression: In fact he was more wrathful than everyone now, even than Gonar, as Roingins’ grievous betraying made him look just foolishness.

That was when the noise came. Paperbackpages. Though it is a fine way to establish setting, the one-shot letters from various ancillary characters began to grate on me as the novel progressed.

The colonists paid little attention to silly kid dreams of oranges and horses. Louder than thunder it went, but very sudden, so I hardly knew it when it was already finished, and my ears were humming like wind in rocks, as if I got hit by some grievous blow.

View all 3 comments. View all 25 comments. Hit heavily by the discoveries of Darwin and Wallace, creationists still sought ways of defending the Biblical story of creation – as does Reverend Wilson with his own theory of “Divine Refrigeration” which makes it possible for the Garden of Eden to be located in Tasmania.

In Tasmania, relations between white settlers and local Aborigines are deadly and often shocking, whether those settlers be impoverished seal-hunters or rich and powerful soldiers or officials.

English Passengers – Wikipedia

Most of the casual racism exists in what’s missing. Their respective approach to the journey and what they consider to be their goals reflect the conflict between Biblical creationist and naturalistic evolutionists, prominent in the 19th century.

Why it has been ballasted with such a deathly boring title I cannot imagine, but English Passengers deserves to be welcomed into port with a riot of bunting and prizes. Yet, British, and later Australian racism was no less common or horrible. Kneale accomplishes this through a sea of narrators and clever use of journals, diaries and official reports. Creationists and young Earthers don’t come out of this well, so I wouldn’t expect them to enjoy it.


But then why not go right englisj, all the way, to that long, still night when a little baby is born, staring and new, with tiniest little hands? Each man offers a highly personalized record of the high seas adventures and internecine feuds that mark the voyage.

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

However, telling us these two stories in parallel brings us different insights into the characters, situations, and social reality of the times, as one story illuminates the other. This was quite funny at first.

It must have “lain upon a unique form of rock, one that was wholly impervious to heat”, Reverend Wilson placidly deduces. Later Roingin killed some back, but now ghosts were too many, always more, and when ghosts came to hunt them, Roingin decided they must leave their own land or all get killed. And around them all, supported by the same set of assumptions, the English penal system promotes its own flavor of inhumanity in the name of progress.

The other little bother I had – and which Mattgew hardly troubled myself with till then, as there’d always been something worse to worry b – was how on earth we ennglish going to unload that certain special cargo without catching their mathtew. This tale is fully farcical and its characters are caricatures, which serves not only to bring in quite an element of comedy, but also meaningfully to dramatize certain strains of prevalent, Victorian-era social thought, namely, ideas of social progress and English superiority.

The age of collonialism, of conquer and dominance. Therefore, each discovery of a new word requires capitalization; one can almost feel his sense of wonder. This book, from beginning to end, is the most satisfying read I’ve had for ages. Jun 13, Matthew Quann rated it really liked it. I love the variety of methods used to tell the tale, the wit, kneeale characters all interwoven in the history of Tasmania.

Peevay is a half-bred child, whose aboriginal mother was kidnapped and raped by an escaped convict. Readers who have enjoyed one book should certainly try the other. Nowadays, we are aware of the atrocities committed in the name of progress; however, surprises are waiting ahead for yb who deserve being punished for their actions.

Roingin were famous for being many but now they were fewer than mine.

Matthew Kneale’s “English Passengers” does englisn a bit of the herky-jerky to it, but, if you’re going to take the narrative approach he does — if memory serves, there are more than 20 different narrators — it’s hard to imagine it being done The multiple-voice first-person narrative is difficult to pull off; shifting perspectives can destroy momentum, at the very least breaking up the rhythm.


Published January 16th by Anchor first published March 14th Pair this with the very last pages, which contain a contemporary grammar school teacher’s report about one aboriginal child who was quite good at math tables, and the author begins kheale sound as simple-minded and condescending as his own eccentric British characters.

Some added depth to the novel, while others dragged on with seemingly no benefit. A literary masterpiece with a great historic englidh that brings the beginning of 19th century back to life. A grim but hilarious historical novel involving the extinction of the Tasmanians [and] a search for the Garden of Eden.??

Captain Kewley does have some redeeming features. Historical Fiction Literary Fiction. Please try again later. He theorises obsessively about racial “types” the Saxon is a natural ruler, the Celt is indolentand secretly works on a treatise entitled The Destiny of Nations: This book did push me to keep reading deeper into “The Bone People,” although the Maori seem to be a more recently settled people, less thoroughly vanquished, with enough status for “The Bone People” to be treating the obverse of this book: He finds a rich benefactor who funds an expedition to find the garden.

Where she walked was interesting, yes.

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale – Reading Guide – : Books

Views Read Edit View history. Sep 30, Usha Alexander rated it it was amazing. Through the story, the reader is presented with the retellings of the experiences of different characters, like the captain of the ship, Captain Illiam Quillian Kewly, who keeps a secret from everybody: So it was, once and again, and I don’t know if it ever could start, no, except for that accident.

The tone of the book throughout is mild sarcasm regarding the way various white colonizers treated aboriginals. Anyhow within the novel are subsumed nationalities, nineteenth century race science, a plurality of voices and various other things that many other readers have enjoyed as a complete edifice, while for me this was one of those books were I was painful aware of the building blocks it was constructed from.