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Stevenson Under the Palm Trees

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
In the lush, uninhibited atmosphere of Samoa, Robert Louis Stevenson is languishing with the disease that will soon kill him; when a chance encounter with the mysterious Scottish missionary, Mr. Baker, turns his thoughts back to his conservative, post-Reformation Edinburgh home. As Stevenson's meetings with the tantalizingly nebulous missionary become increasingly strange, ...more
Paperback, 106 pages
Published 2005 by Canon Gate (first published 2000)
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Jul 01, 2012 Jae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
A dark novella that echoes RSL's own work. The flowers, the music, the sensuality of life on the Samoan island drip from the pages of the book. Illustrated with some of Stevenson's own woodcuts.
Jun 25, 2015 The_Mad_Swede rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
A few years ago, I attended a seminar with Alberto Manguel, which I truly enjoyed. In connection with that, I picked up his book Into the Looking Glass Wood, which as of yet remains unread, but could not resist from grabbing this one at a Bookcrossing meet-up. And I do not regret starting with this one.

Stevenson under the Palm Trees is a deceptively simple book. It is short and rather straight forward, but it is, more than anything, subtle. Weaving a tale about Robert Louis Stevenson's life on t
Feb 20, 2014 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Stevenson Under the Palm Trees' is a vivid novella with Robert Louis Stevenson at its centre. Drawing on works produced by Stevenson at the end of his life, Manguel weaves a story about his life on Samoa, a philosophical investigation into morality, storytelling and reality. Manguel's story is filled with the echoes of Stevenson's work, the most obvious parallel to be drawn being that between the fictional Stevenson's relationship with Mr Baker, and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The book follows Steve ...more
Parrish Lantern
This is one of those books, that when you’re reading it, you stop, turn it over in your hand as though looking for the trick, like some magic act, you saw it happen, you were real close, but ……? This book is including notes and woodcuts (Stevenson’s own) only 105 pages long and yet Alberto Manguel manage to pack in so much as it focuses on Robert Louis Stevenson’s last days dying of consumption on a tropical island. It plays with the idea of moral duality as in Stevenson's own Novella (Jekyll an ...more
Randy Mcdonald
Nov 13, 2012 Randy Mcdonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alberto Manguel's 2004 novella Stevenson Under the Palm Trees shows the evidence of Manguel's friend Jorge Louis Borges in its invocation of the sort of reality so clearly delineated as to appear hallucinatory and powerful. Manguel draws upon the malaise that Robert Louis Stevenson felt in the last months of his life, spent in residence with his family in what was then the German colony of Samoa, where he had gone to live in an effort to survive his consumption.

Stevenson Under the Palm Trees is
Jan 24, 2009 Maryse rated it liked it
I'm not really a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson. I read his "Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde" once and, though I liked the theme, I didn't really enjoy reading it.

I like stories about authors, though, so when I saw this and the blurb at the back that said "ghost story" I was hooked. Stevenson Under The Palm Trees revolves around RLS's last days in Samoa where he has become a local celebrity and is given the nickname "Tusitala" ("Teller of stories"). The first few pages feel a like dropping into a dense
Mar 20, 2015 alana rated it it was ok
Shelves: canada, mental-health
I don't think I know enough about Robert Louis Stevenson to appreciate this novella...or even understand it. Maybe it's just a simple...parable? But...really, not my jam. I picked it up since author Alberto Manguel did a guest lecture here locally, and my library had a display of his books.
Joel Gomes
May 04, 2012 Joel Gomes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este é um daqueles livros cuja qualidade está intrinsecamente ligada à sua pequena dimensão. As grandes obras não se avaliam pelo número de páginas e esse é um desses casos. É, se me permitem a comparação, um café duplo e não um café em chávena grande.

O personagem principal, o autor Robert Louis Stevenson, é retratado de forma interessante e credível. A ideia de Manguel de transformar Stevenson numa espécie de Jeckyl e Hyde também está bem desenvolvida.

Admito a minha quase ignorância em relação
Feb 22, 2015 Steffi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Eine Reflexion über Stevensons letzte Tage auf Samoa, über Doppelgänger und das Verhältnis von Realität und Fiktion, Traum und Begehren und nicht zuletzt über den verheerenden Einfluss der Europäer auf die Kultur der Südsee.
John Mccormack
Apr 06, 2014 John Mccormack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to attend an evening with Alberto Manguel last month.Wonderful personality and surprisingly funny.I learned a lot about reading fiction.This little book took a while to read because there was so much to it.
Jul 21, 2015 TK421 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
When the ghosts of literary greats show up as characters, magic happens.
Defalarca denedim ama hikaye beni içine bir türlü alamadı.
Jul 16, 2008 Laurel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The literature student in me loved this novel. Its a little obscure, almost as if the author is exploring a new writing style, an intellectual exercise. I like that it dares to be a little different. I read an article once that said we tend to read the same novel over and over again. Find a formula we like and run with it. I like that this was something I have not read before nor since. It will keep you on your literary toes!
The plot lines of this book are definitely very interesting. But perhaps Manguel has tried to present old style narration to new age readers, which may or may not be the undoing of this book. Stevenson has been one of my favourite classic authors and to see him as a protagonist in a work of fiction set on an exotic island was what attracted me to this book. But maybe this needed more twists, given the dark backgrounds of the story.
Oct 07, 2007 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10/21/05 #185
GENRE/PUB DATE/# OF PGS: Fiction, 2002, 103 pgs
COMMENTS: R. L. Stevenson is living in Samoa when he
meets Mr. Barclay from his homeland, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Stevenson has relaxed his ideas & views living in the
S Pacific and has doubts when he is confronted w/ Mr.
Barclay a missionary w/ a more conservative rigid style.

Jan 03, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This slim volume grew on me as I read it and the mystery deepened. It was an intriguing story as well as an interesting meditation on the nature of the human soul and the battle between light and dark. The Robert Louis Stevenson presented is in keeping with what I know of the historical figure. Manguel used Stevenson's own woodcuts to illustrate the book and they work well.

This was a very short, fictionalized account of Robert Louis Stevenson's life in Samoa.

I enjoyed it very much, but, somehow, it seemed to be missing a little something. I think it may be due to a very rare case of over-editing. At least that's what it felt like to me.

Still, it held my interest and captured my imagination.
Dec 21, 2009 Leif rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, sparse, disturbing: Manguel has written a little gem of a story. His unsettling tale has an ominous backdrop, and the events of the narrative fulfill this expectation. Like any short story/novella, every word counts, and Manguel adroitly uses that to his advantage.
Sep 04, 2007 Fin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes strong imagery
I loved this book. I found the imagery so strong you could almost feel the sun and the heat. The way the natives are described is so raw and unrefined. I can't go into it too much for fear I will just end up describing it but I think this easy read is well worth it.
Nose in a book (Kate)
Intriguing little volume that's apparently loosely based on Robert Louis Stevenson's correspondence during his last few years. Evocative and believable, though I'm not sure (if it's as fictional as it seems to be) why it needed to be based on a real person.
May 24, 2012 Rannie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A novella of Stevenson's last days in Samoa with a mystery and a touch of magical realism thrown in. I found it much less interesting than it sounded.
Kae Cheatham
Jan 12, 2011 Kae Cheatham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantasy of Robert Louis Stevenson himself a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, based on Scots Presbyterian fanaticism. Woodcut illustration from Stevenson collection.
Cooper Renner
Satisfying, if little more, look at Stevenson's life in Samoa, creating a kind of mirror of Jekyll and Hyde in RLS's own life.
Brief, thought provoking read. Read in one sitting, a haunting little book with a dream/nightmare like quality.
I didn't really find a connection to the story, but since the book was an easy read I read it trough. (January 9, 2008)
EJ Johnson
Short Novella. Weird. Makes Robert Louis Stevenson into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Mar 03, 2008 Debra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
me learn that this author did not know short stories require lots of talent to write.
quick read ... not sure about the ending
the gift
short. sweet. sharp.
Mervyn Kelso
Jun 23, 2011 Mervyn Kelso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: little-gems
This book is a liitle gem
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Alberto Manguel (born 1948 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980) and A History of Reading (1996) The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008), and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991). ...more
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“I know my time will come soon enough, but I will not dwell on it. What is the purpose? We might as well dwell on the work of our teeth or on the mechanics of our walk. It is there, it will always be there, and I don't intend to spend my glorious hours looking over my shoulder to see death's icy face.” 10 likes
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