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Editorial Reviews

An inexplicable tragedy lies at the center of Carmel Bird's hypnotic and intriguing Cape Grimm: the burning of nearly all of the town's inhabitants inside of a church by Caleb Mean, or as he is also known, the "Christ Child".

Humphrey Bower and Nicki Paul display a chameleon-like ability in capturing the subtle accents, inflections, and emotions of the mosaic of colorful personalities that make up Cape Grimm, and their powerful, authoritative performances add resonance to Bird's examination of how a small town's complex history can inform a seemingly senseless act of violence.

Publisher's Summary

On the far northwest coast of Tasmania at Cape Grimm lies the isolated and idiosyncratic community of Skye, which practices a religion that reveres the imagination. One clear evening all the inhabitants enter the church hall, where they are locked in and burned alive. They have been persuaded to do this by a young man called Caleb Mean, also known as El Nino, the Christ Child. How could such a thing happen? And why? Are the secrets in the history of Skye itself? Or do they lie within the mysteries of the human soul?
©2004 Carmel Bird; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Tina
  • Moab, UT, USA
  • 08-02-05

Too self-referential

This writer spends too much time talking about telling the story instead of just telling it. Also, strange glossary at the end which doesn't contribute to the story very well, although some of the fairy tales are interesting. This glossary may work well when actually reading the book, but doesn't work well when listening. Ending is anticlimatic and cliche.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Dreamlike and compelling

Any additional comments?

The summary of this book would lead you to expect a typical overdramatic story about a fringe cult driven to mass suicide. Instead, it's a haunting reminiscence by the people who have survived the event and who are now trying to fit the story of what happened at Skye into the narrative of their own lives. The book won't satisfy people who want a story that confirms how weird cults are, and it won't satisfy people who want a fast-paced action/rescue narrative. It will be deeply satisfying to listeners who think about what happens after a tragic event to those who were directly and indirectly touched by it. It's a story that celebrates the power of the imagination while recognizing that it can have dark consequences. <br/><br/>This is also a book for someone who wants to feel immersed in the landscape of the story - Carmel Bird's beautiful prose and the astonishing synchronicity of the two narrators really bring the listener deep into the world of Skye.

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  • Colin
  • 06-04-06

Very very poor

I was very disappointed with this title. First of all I don't understand why it was placed in the Fantasy section as it contains no fantasy aspects at all. The reading of the book is good with a different narrator for both of the main points of view contained in the story. The story however is the problem, it trudges along at a snails pace with nothing happening. The story itself isn't detailing the events in the church of even those leading up to it except in the most basic manner; instead it deals with the history of Caleb's ancestors and the mindset of Caleb's wife after the event. The last 2 hours of the reading are taken up with an appendix. A timeline of events, many of which aren't connected to the story and a A-Z which once again has many items which don't link to the main story, but does contain a nice telling of the Grimm Brothers fairy tale Hans my Hedgehog. I advise you to give it a miss.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful