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This other eden

This other eden

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In 1792, formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discovered an island where they could make a life together. More than a century later, the Honeys' descendants remain there, with an eccentric, diverse band of neighbours: a pair of sisters raising three Penobscot orphans; Theophilus and Candace Larks and their nocturnal brood; the prophetic Zachary Hand To God Proverbs, a Civil War veteran who carves Biblical images in a hollow tree. Then comes the intrusion of 'civilization': eugenics-minded state officials determine to cleanse the island, and a missionary schoolteacher selects one light-skinned boy to save. The rest will succumb to the authorities' institutions or cast themselves on the waters in a new Noah's Ark. Full of lyricism and power, 'This Other Eden' explores the hopes and dreams and resilience of those seen not to fit a world brutally intolerant of difference.

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