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Palace of the Peacock (The Guyana Quartet #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A tale of a doomed crew beating their way up-river through the jungles of Guyana. In this novel, first published in 1960, can be traced the poetic vision, the themes and the designs of Harris's subsequent work, which included The Guyana Quartet.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 1st 1998 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 1960)
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E. Ann The Self cannot have power over an Other because the Other is Self.
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Community Reviews

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Oct 26, 2013 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south-american
I do wonder why Wilson Harris is not better known; he has been writing for over 50 years and was knighted in the 2010 honours list (that didn’t make the popular news I seem to recall). He was originally a surveyor in Guyana and his early work is very much set in the Guyanese/South American jungle. There are strong links to Hegel and Heidegger. The thesis, antithesis, synthesis model is present throughout the novel and in the way the plot is played out. Harris also rejects conventional plot, ...more
Shivanee Ramlochan
Mar 19, 2012 Shivanee Ramlochan rated it it was amazing
Did I read this book, or did this book read me? I'm not trying to be snide, here, or precious, or cruel. I am in love with this book. I would like to be its girlfriend.
Dec 07, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dreamers and adventurers
Shelves: south-america
Through sinister jungles and lurid daymares, we float up the river into a landscape forsaken by the living. Death is on one bank and Life on the other, but in the churning eddies that spin our souls skyward we know not which is which and paddle onward blindly. Is this the river Styx? Are we careening towards an inner Hell? Is this the fabled Heart of Darkness?

We are in the remote backwaters of colonial Guyana, where maps are cracks on withered faces and there reigns "a cannibal blind fear in one
Dec 06, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it
This unconventional, seminal work is only for the brave, but worth taking on for the richness of its images and for its definitive take on colonialsm. Folks who favor lyrical, nonlinear work will particularly take from it.
Jan 12, 2015 Syme rated it really liked it
It is good that this book is summarised in the introduction, because I had no fucking clue what was going on. But that's apparently the whole point of the novel, and the writing is beautiful.
Heather Clitheroe
May 29, 2012 Heather Clitheroe rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012-reads
Two parts peyote, one part novel.
Charles A
Oct 27, 2014 Charles A rated it it was amazing
The unconventional style is very confusing at first to the average reader. It takes a mental shift in order to step away from our preconceived notions of how to read a novel. The best advice I can give to people struggling with it is to take a look at Schrodinger's Cat first, then apply that to this story. And forget anything you know about literature, Harris eschews the trappings of western lit and so must his readers.
Jan 16, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing
Really strange. Wilson Harris's writing style is "magical realism." I would really like to read more of his stuff.
Mar 14, 2016 Sion rated it it was amazing
Baffled and frustrated by it the first time I read it. Read his own criticism. Read it again. Loved it.
Emily Rose
Apr 12, 2016 Emily Rose rated it liked it
Post-modernism novel that essentially invented the dream within a dream trope. Good message and gorgeous metaphors if you care to make it through the confusion that is the structure of this novel.
Feb 10, 2015 Alex rated it liked it
The sentences were super pretty, but I couldn't understand a thing that happened. I realise that's the point, but... I like my plots. (Call me old-fashioned.)
raj rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2009
Brian rated it liked it
May 25, 2009
Christopher-Calvin Pollard
Christopher-Calvin Pollard rated it really liked it
Sep 16, 2015
May 09, 2007 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who don't like Ali Smith

This is brilliant. Quite simply: bwilliant.
Shiona Tregaskis
Shiona Tregaskis rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2014
Valancourt Books
Valancourt Books rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2016
Jan 30, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-college, 3wr
School copy.

DH had so much good stuff.
Arran MS
Arran MS rated it really liked it
Oct 18, 2015
Angie rated it liked it
Nov 12, 2013
Caroline Robinson
Caroline Robinson rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2014
Teepee rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2011
Christopher Sutch
Christopher Sutch rated it it was amazing
Jul 19, 2009
Bryon rated it it was ok
Dec 20, 2007
Amaranth Sneakason
Amaranth Sneakason rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2014
Jennifer rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2007
Kelly rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2016
Marshall rated it liked it
Feb 09, 2015
Stephen rated it it was ok
Apr 11, 2011
Feb 10, 2014 Tirsa rated it it was amazing
it was great
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Born in Guyana in 1921 and based in England since 1959, Wilson Harris is one of the most original novelists and critics of the twentieth century. His writings, which include poems, numerous essays and twenty-four novels, provide a passionate and unique defense of the notion of cross-culturalism as well as a visionary exploration of the interdependence between history, landscape and humanity. In ...more
More about Wilson Harris...

Other Books in the Series

The Guyana Quartet (3 books)
  • The Far Journey of Oudin
  • The Whole Armour & The Secret Ladder

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