Children of Paradise

Fred D'Aguiar

Published: 5 March 2015
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 384 pages
ISBN: 9781847088628
£8.99

Overview

In the opening pages of this novel, an accident brings a young girl to the attention of the Preacher, the all-powerful leader of a religious cult secluded in the jungle. Trina has only dim memories of the life she lived with her mother before they joined the community and the closed, close society is all she knows. When she is singled out for special favour, it becomes clear that the gaze of the Preacher can be a dangerous thing. As the Preacher's behaviour and the demands he places on his followers become more extreme, Trina's mother begins to question her faith in the charismatic but fatally flawed leader and to dream of an escape from his control.

In this powerful re-imagining of the infamous Jonestown tragedy, D'Aguiar writes with the lyrical intensity of a poet, examining the motivations and obsessions that lead to religious fanaticism. This is a novel about the betrayal of faith and of innocence, a story about love, devotion and mania that is a brave attempt to understand the reasoning of people who would, in the end, kill their own children in the prelude to a mass suicide that shocked the world. Although history tells us that the ending of this story can never be anything other than a tragedy, D'Aguiar's compassion, and his ability to draw the reader into the intimate and terrible reality of lives lived at the whim of a corrupt and dangerous cult leader, ensure that in the end this is a story of hope.


About the author

Image of Fred D'Aguiar

Poet, novelist and playwright Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents. He lived in Guyana until he was 12, returning to England in 1972. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, graduating in 1985. His first collection of poetry, Mama Dot (1985), was published to much acclaim and established his reputation as one of the finest British poets of his generation. Along with Airy Hall (1989), it won the Guyana Poetry Prize in 1989 and was followed by British Subjects (1993). His first novel, The Longest Memory (1994), tells the story of Whitechapel, a slave on an eighteenth-century Virginia plantation, and won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. It was translated into 12 languages and subsequently televised by Channel 4 in the UK. He is also the author of the novels Dear Future (1996) and Bethany Bettany (2003). His long poem 'Sweet Thames' was broadcast as part of the BBC 'Worlds on Film' series in 1992. Fred D'Aguiar's poetry includes Bill of Rights (1998), a long narrative poem about the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1979; and a long narrative poem, Bloodlines, the story of a black slave and her white lover, published in 2000. His latest poetry collection is Continental Shelf (2009), shortlisted for the 2009 T. S. Eliot Prize. His new novel, Children of Paradise, will be published by Granta in 2014, along with a reissue of his acclaimed novel Feeding the Ghosts. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University (1989-90), Visiting Writer at Amherst College, Amherst, MA (1992-4), and was Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Lewiston, ME (1994-5). More recently he was Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Miami and he is currently Professor of English at Virginia Tech. More about the author





 
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