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Natives and Exotics

About the Book

Natives and Exotics

"It's a difficult thing to crave land, especially when your body is small. And a dangerous thing, too, when you have no business being there, when it's not even where you're from."

Transplanted halfway around the globe in 1970, nine-year-old Alice, the unrooted child of diplomats, is ravished by the beauty of Ecuador, a country her parents are helping to despoil. Forty years earlier, her grandmother, Violet, a newlywed making a home in the wilds of Australia, confronts troubling traces of her country's past. In early nineteenth-century Scotland, Violet's great-great-grandfather, George, flees the violence of the Clearances for the Portuguese Azores, unaware that he will have a hand in destroying the earthly paradise he finds there, and be forced to flee again.

In the manner of W. G. Sebald's The Emigrants, Natives and Exotics follows these three characters, linked by blood and legacy, as they wander a world and time scarred by colonialism and disconcerting revelations about nature, from the unearthing of the first dinosaur bones to the discovery that the continents drift. With cameo appearances by Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin, Natives and Exotics is a hypnotic meditation on our passionate, uneasy affair with nature, in which we restlessly search for home.

Natives and Exotics
by Jane Alison

  • Publication Date: May 9, 2005
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ISBN-10: 0151012016
  • ISBN-13: 9780151012015