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Henderson's Spear
Ronald Wright
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Henderson's Spear

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  65 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
In the tradition of Melville and Stevenson, a superb storyteller -- winner of the David Higham Prize for Fiction -- brings literary art of great range and beauty to a South Seas epic. Two tales of passion and intrigue, from the 1890s and the 1990s, reach around the world from Canada, England and West Africa to converge in the Polynesian islands.

The story opens as a letter
Published May 21st 2010 by Vintage Canada (first published August 28th 2001)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Brilliantly bringing together two stories of travel, adventure and family secrets that bring our heroine and her ancestor to the South Pacific Islands, Ronald Wright delivers a truly believable tale told in two distinct voices that will hold your interest right to the end.

Olivia's world has narrowed to the inside of the Arue Women's Prison on the South Pacific island of Tahiti. It is 1990, and her search for her father, a pilot who went missing in action during the Korean War, has brought her he
Sarah Beth
Liv, a Canadian filmmaker, is writing to the daughter she gave up for adoption years before from her jail cell in Tahiti. Liv tells her daughter her life story, growing up in England, surrounded by the historical artifacts of her father's ancestor, Frank Henderson, brought back from his travels in Africa. Liv's father disappeared in the Korean War and is presumed dead. But after Liv's mother's death, she discovers evidence that leads her suspect that her father (or is he?) didn't actually die du ...more
Robert Beveridge
Ronald Wright, Henderson's Spear (Henry Holt, 2002)

Liv Wyvern has a problem (well, aside from that of having been beaten up every day after school for having a name like Liv Wyvern). She's in jail in Tahiti on suspicion of murder, having gone down to track down her father, who's been MIA since the Korean War. She's recently been tracked down by her twenty-two-year-old daughter, whom she gave up for adoption shortly after her birth, and is now attempting to write a letter to that daughter explain
Lisa Rathbun
Still reading, but wanted to jot down these quotes:

"Words bring one nearer to the past than pictures ever can. Images emphasize the farness of that other country, make it seem more outlandish than it really was, a silent film where troops march jerkily to battle and die like puppets. But words show it to you through the eyes of its inhabitants, make you wait in a sodden dawn for the shout to go over the top."

"Memories do not decay at a uniform atomic rate. Happiness has the shortest half-life,
Sep 30, 2015 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Largely overwritten...some glorious prose does not make up for a plot that drags,has improbable events and sinks under the weight of the author's ambitions.
Terrific epistolatory novel that conjures all sorts of ghosts: Conrad, Maugham, Edgar Wallace (African novels) and Robert Louis Stevenson to name a few. Set in the 1880s and 1980s, the novel takes us back and forward on a rewarding tour through British and French colonial history, as the main protagonist attempts to trace the line between the father she hardly knew and the child she gave up for adoption at birth. Wonderful story-telling, remarkable settings from Africa to the Pacific, and some v ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Nance rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would have rather given this a 3 1/2 stars, but couldn't bring myself to say I "really liked it" by giving it 4 stars, so just put 3 stars. I really liked PARTS of the book, but there were areas I struggled with, particularly with Henderson's story. I also had to keep going back in the chapters to remind myself what was going on, since the story flip-flopped from past to present. It was still very interesting though, and loved learning a ton about the South Pacific islands.
Another historical fiction with a parallel structure. Olivia writes her daughter from jail and Henderson wrote his wife in the past. Their stories connect in Tahiti. I enjoy the complex structure, but it is becoming a common way of organizing fiction, I think.
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Ronald Wright is a Canadian author who has written books of travel, history and fiction. His nonfiction includes the bestseller Stolen Continents, winner of the Gordon Montador Award and chosen as a book of the year by the Independent and the Sunday Times. His first novel, A Scientific Romance, won the 1997 David Higham Prize for Fiction and was chosen a book of the year by the Globe and Mail, the ...more
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