From Library Journal
McElroy combines her talents as English professor (Univ. of Washington) and creative writer in this collection of stories from Madagascar. Interwoven with the 28 folktales and actually comprising the majority of the text are impressions of the country and its people gleaned during the months the author lived and worked there. The book reads like a travel memoir at its best, poetic, lyrical and filled with the sights, sounds, and people of Madagascar. McElroy gives essential background on the stories, the storytellers, and the culture surrounding them, making the tales accessible to readers from other cultures. While few of the stories are suitable for telling to children in a traditional manner, this interesting anthropological study is recommended as such for academic and public libraries where interest or scholarship dictates.AKatherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
McElroy, an African American with Pacific Islander heritage, explores the oral traditions and myths of the island of Madagascar, 240 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa. The selected stories and song-poems represent two types: origin myths and tales of personal behavior and social ethics in "a country still famous for its verbal arts." McElroy interviews the Madagascan storytellers and, as an ethnographer, draws vivid pictures of their linguistics, the local culture, the Madagascan populace, and the regional geography of Madagascar. The tales of heroism, magic, love, and treachery include a story of girls turned into orange trees while fleeing a monster. In another story, a young man marries a daughter of heaven. His parents, fearing she will take him away, conspire to kill her but are thwarted by her magical powers. A fascinating look at a part of the world not often explored. Vanessa Bush