On the far northwest coast of Tasmania at Cape Grimm lies the isolated and idiosyncratic community of Skye, which practices a religion that reveres the imagination. One clear evening all the inhabitants enter the church hall, where they are locked in and burned alive. They have been persuaded to do this by a young man called Caleb Mean, also known as El Nino, the Christ Child. How could such a thing happen? And why? Are the secrets in the history of Skye itself? Or do they lie within the mysteries of the human soul?More
An inexplicable tragedy lies at the center of Carmel Bird's hypnotic and intriguing Cape Grimm: the burning of nearly all of the town's inhabitants inside of a church by Caleb Mean, or as he is also known, the "Christ Child".
Humphrey Bower and Nicki Paul display a chameleon-like ability in capturing the subtle accents, inflections, and emotions of the mosaic of colorful personalities that make up Cape Grimm, and their powerful, authoritative performances add resonance to Bird's examination of how a small town's complex history can inform a seemingly senseless act of violence.
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Dreamlike and compelling
The summary of this book would lead you to expect a typical overdramatic story about a fringe cult driven to mass suicide. Instead, it's a haunting reminiscence by the people who have survived the event and who are now trying to fit the story of what happened at Skye into the narrative of their own lives. The book won't satisfy people who want a story that confirms how weird cults are, and it won't satisfy people who want a fast-paced action/rescue narrative. It will be deeply satisfying to listeners who think about what happens after a tragic event to those who were directly and indirectly touched by it. It's a story that celebrates the power of the imagination while recognizing that it can have dark consequences.
This is also a book for someone who wants to feel immersed in the landscape of the story - Carmel Bird's beautiful prose and the astonishing synchronicity of the two narrators really bring the listener deep into the world of Skye.