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A novel inspired by the true story of the once racially integrated Malaga Island off the coast of Maine, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers.
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 neighbors: 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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