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Easter Island

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3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,123 ratings  ·  219 reviews
In this extraordinary fiction debut--rich with love and betrayal, history and intellectual passion--two remarkable narratives converge on Easter Island, one of the most remote places in the world.

It is 1913. Elsa Pendleton travels from England to Easter Island with her husband, an anthropologist sent by the Royal Geographical Society to study the colossal moai statues, and
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 27th 2003 by The Dial Press (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,866)
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Tea Jovanović
One of my favourite picks for Serbian market... Good book, good story that deserves to be read for years and years... I'm sorry to see that none of my Goodreads friends has read it yet... :( But you can always change that... Published by Narodna knjiga - Alfa, 10 years ago... Let say for those who liked THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS...
Mathew
150 pages in, I'm really enjoying Easter Island. It has a patient, quiet narrative and masterful grasp of subject matter (botany, taxonomy, evolution and science in general) that is unassailable and reminiscent of Sacred Hunger. It also maintains an excellent balance and synergy between the parallel narratives of Elsa and Greer. It always seems a danger, to me, in this construct that one storyline will become dominant or just more interesting than the other. But so far, alternating, I always fin ...more
Lauren
This book absolutely delighted me. I went into it with no expectations - it was a random selection from the library - and I finished it a little blown away. I have a feeling this is what The Conquest by Yxta Maya Murray wanted to be - a fictional novel that wraps science and fact into its tale - but where The Conquest stumbled, Easter Island soars. The characters are flawed and not entirely likable, the plot comfortable and not especially surprising, and the ending is not tied up in a little bow ...more
Heather
Oh my what can I say about this book, except I seriously don't recommend it. Although it presents very interesting history and facts of Easter Island I would have been better off reading Wikipeadia. If you want to read about every scientific plant species grown on the island since it's volanic conception, go ahead and be my guest.

I kept waiting for the three separate stories to blend and make a wonderful marriage somewhere along the way, but geez by the last couple chapters I kept looking back
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Candice
Feb 23, 2013 Candice rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ellen, Barbara (maybe)
This is my kind of book! I love it when two or more stories come together like this. Easter Island is the story of two women who went to the island and did research. But the two women's stories are 60 years apart. There is also a small thread of a German World War I naval squadron present in the book.

Elsa Beazley arrives at Easter Island in 1916 with her new husband and her mentally handicapped sister. Her story was inspired by the true story of Katherine Scoresby Routledge and her husband. Elsa
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Toni
The name Easter Island evokes a sense of mystery and romanticism. The book Easter Island delivers on both accounts.

Begin with an oceanic island fifteen hundred miles from any other landmass, one that had taken thousands of years for plant life to reach its shores and much longer before human life managed to land there. Add in two women, separated by sixty years as their parallel stories are told, each brought to Easter Island - one an Englishwoman who accompanies her anthropologist husband and
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Cherie
I enjoyed reading this historical fiction. It is becomming my favorite genera, and with stories like this one it makes it totally worth my time.

This story was written with three different sub stories involved. All of them converging on Easter Island on two different time lines. One story is about Elsa Beasley, her husband Edward and her sister Alice. Alice is what we call today a special needs individual. I could not exactly say what was wrong with her, but she was a high matenance charge. The
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Kerith
Easter Island is one of those mysterious places that I've always found fascinating, likely because of the sheer distance away that it is. A novel like this merely whets my appetite. The author moves between the two stories, each of a woman who travels to Easter Island after a huge change in life -- Elsa Beazley after her marriage of convenience in the beginning of the 20th century and Greer Farraday decades later in the 70s, after the death of her husband. As each finds her place and true callin ...more
Virpi
Well, I had high hopes for this book: it all sounded so intriguing. I've always been interested in novels that mix facts with fiction - it's a facsinating way of learning new things. But, I must say, this book was a disappointment. The style of writing wasn't very gripping and for the longest time I just kept expecting the story to become interesting at some point. In the end, the two stories - Elsa's and Greer's - were very loosely - too loosely - knit together. And the whole story of the Germa ...more
Tiana Harris
This book read too much like a textbook, so I skimmed through quite a bit of it. The only thing that kept me reading was to find out the answers to the few mysteries in the book, and then was quite disappointed at the vague answers that were revealed. I don't like it when authors leave endings up to the readers to figure out. Give me a definite ending, let the characters in the book actually find the answers to the questions asked throughout the book! I also hate when the theory of evolution is ...more
Maya
Yet another book about two sisters? What is with me! Strangely, this book has been sitting on my shelf unread since I bought it when it was originally published; yet I suddenly felt moved to pick it up and read it. The unconscious drive to sisterhood yet again.

I'm sorry it took me so long, as this was a carefully crafted story; if nothing else, the research that went into the writing of this novel is to be admired. The story moves back and forth between two female protagonists sixty years apart.
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Jane
I loved this novel. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction, botany, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and its mysteries, naval battles in World War I, and/or Darwin. It is a wonderful book!
Mary Burns
Very interesting view of women in science, from the perspectives of two different generations. The historical piece included an unusual love story and linked Elsa Beazley to the discovery of the secret behind the stone figures or moai, and also a first world war German naval commander. In the interwoven contemporary story, a woman, Greer, is forced into the field by her scientist husband's treachery. The lives of the two women seem to touch only in their mutual interest in Darwin and Easter Isla ...more
Jana
Sep 05, 2008 Jana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Fabulous book that combines great characters, science, history, psychology, mystery. A wonderful read!
Matt
I feel like I already reviewed this but maybe not, so here goes:

I liked this, and thought it was interesting, the three narratives of people interacting with Easter Island were varied, detailed, and moderately compelling. But still and all, I found the book kind of boring-- I think that Vanderbes made a decision to sort of spare us childish drama and emotional hysterics in her book, letting everyone act like adults. But that means what conflicts there are-- the 1970s woman discovering her husban
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Ron Charles
It's comforting to imagine that aliens placed those inscrutable statues on Easter Island. Such a theory protects us from the more haunting implications about human nature. The tiny island, 2,300 miles west of Chile, was settled around 400 A.D. Its early inhabitants - with or without extraterrestrial assistance - carved more than 600 giant faces from volcanic rock and then dragged them to the shore. Some weigh almost 90 tons.

In her gorgeous debut novel, "Easter Island," Jennifer Vanderbes has att
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Donovan Richards
The Locals Call It Rapa Nui

A solitary land mass with its closest neighbor over 1,200 miles away, Easter Island is famously known for its moai statues – monolithic figures erected throughout the island. Along with the rongorongo – a series of undeciphered written tablets found in the caves of Easter Island – the moai remain in imaginations worldwide for the mysterious nature behind their creation. Perhaps obviously but nevertheless in need of stating, this famed island provides a backdrop for Jen
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Cheryl A
In 1913, Elsa Pendleton is left as guardian of her mentally challenged sister Alice after the death of their father. With diminished finances, Elsa accepts the offer of marriage to Edward Beazley, a contemporary of her father and a professor. When Edward decides to mount an expedition to Easter Island, Elsa and Alice join him on the adventure, with Elsa hoping that a new environment will help her come to terms with decisions she has had to make.

In 1973, Greer Farraday is also off to Easter Islan
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Anne
Due west of central Chile ... some 1500 miles or so....lies the volcanic island known as Easter Island. Who built the famous "moai" that now lie toppled over the treeless landscape? Why are some standing, most on the ground? What happened here to cause this destruction of what appear to be important monuments?

Three story lines are used to tell about the biogeographical history of the island: An English couple live in a seaside tent to study the "moai" and the meanings of the "rongorongo"' wooden
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Steph
I have an acute desire to visit Easter Island since learning about it a couple years ago through Nicholas Sparks' "Three Weeks with my Brother", so I was thrilled when I learned about this fictional novel that takes place on the island. I enjoyed "Easter Island" greatly, I found it difficult to put down and was sad when it was over. I really needed a novel like this to kick off my new year after a few slow and tedious reads in 2012. "Easter Island" was brimming with scientific research and jargo ...more
Debra Humphrey
Aug 11, 2012 Debra Humphrey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Feminists, Historical Buffs
Recommended to Debra by: Pasadena Public Library
I started working at the Pasadena Public Library in February 2008 and in April, the author Jennifer Vanderbes walked into my office - "Easter Island" was our One City, One Story book selection that year. I liked the book, but I wanted to like it a lot more than I did. The book is about two women who have traveled to Easter Island: Elsa, who goes there with her new husband and her mentally disabled sister just before World War I, and Greer, who goes there in the 1970's as a female scientist looki ...more
Beth
Jun 24, 2008 Beth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like: history; anthropology; travel
Recommended to Beth by: The City of Pasadena
I read this book as part of Pasadena's "One City, One Book" program and was lucky enough to meet the author at a luncheon at our fabulous bookstore, Vroman's. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons, many of which come down to the author's quest for accuracy. Although Jennifer Vanderbes does not have a background in science, she was meticulous in her research on botany and field work and that hard work is apparent in her "spot on" depictions of both academic and research life in general and ...more
Oceana2602
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jackie
This is a fictional account of two women separated by 60 years who come to study the land, people and culture of Easter Island. The island's history is shrouded in mystery because the Rapa Nui people lost much of their oral history and culture due to slavery and repopulation on other islands. The transportation of the moai, the ancient writing - rongorongo - and the deforestation of the island are happenings which are still unclear.
Alison
3x story of voyages to this remote and mysterious place - German warships in 1914; eccentric explorers voyage at the same time exploring the statues and culture and history ;an american scientific survey on pollen and flora settlement on the island. all very seductive but also an exploration of the various characters visiting and living there. not many answers. statues still mysterious though suggestions made. Good book this
Nancy Baker
Easter Island - went nowhere
I was gravely disspointed by the story. I felt betrayed by the characters I encountered and came to enjoy throughout the book that left me flat and saying "is that is?" at the end. I thought the book had such a potential for the weaving of lives and stories but I closed the book feeling like I was holding a string only and no needle with which to stitch the pieces together.
Carrie
I LOVED this book!! It was well written, with all the elements I love. Dual story lines that converge well in the end. It was full of well researched information about botany and Easter Island itself. I want to travel there and see the moai. I was very intrigued by the botany information like I've never been before. I can't believe it took me this long to find this book. Well worth reading.
Joe
One of the reviews on the book jacket teased me by comparing this to _Possession_, which sort of works superficially, but of course it's not usually meaningful to make those sorts of comparisons. The strength of _Easter Island_ is its narrative; there are grand mysteries stretching across generations and touching the lives of many characters (each of whom also has his or her own problems and motivations, of course). It all flows naturally - the mystery doesn't seem forced or stretched - and the ...more
Don
This book tales three intriguing stories woven into some very well researched historical fiction. Vanderbes does a great job drawing you in with very believable characters that never are boring. The setting of Easter Island is described so well that you think you've been there(even if you haven't) by the end of the book. And the weaving of three different stories, each of which would deserve its book, is compelling -- even gripping at times.

The story does slow down in places - this knuckledraggi
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Lia
Rich and exquisite. The dialogue is brilliantly crafted. The amount of details speaks to the sheer amount of research and fact-checking that must have gone into weaving this tale, which I appreciated and loved. I felt I was there every step of the way. A little slow-going in the beginning, but as it built up, I couldn't put it down. Excellent.
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Jennifer Vanderbes received her B.A. in English Literature from Yale and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her first novel, Easter Island, was named a "best book of 2003" by the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor and was translated into 16 languages. Her second novel, Strangers at the Feast, was called "a thriller that also raises
large and haunting question
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More about Jennifer Vanderbes...
The Secret of Raven Point Strangers at the Feast

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