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Over the Lip of the World: Among the Storytellers of Madagascar (Samuel and Althea Stroum Book) Hardcover – September 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Samuel and Althea Stroum Book
  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press; First Edition edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0295978244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0295978246
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,118,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this memoir of McElroy's trip to Madagascar to gather Malagasy legends and fables from storytellers bland. A little dose of humor on the author's part could have remedied much of this. On the other hand, McElroy's skill as a poet does shine through at times with sections of beautiful, descriptive prose.
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, I fully agree with the previous reviewer from Louisiana. This is not a book for those who want to get to know Madagascar and Malagasy culture or history. At the most, in that direction, it provides some 'atmosphere' of Africa for those who have never been there. The book is indeed a personal account of the reader's feelings, as she rediscovered herself during her trip to that wonderful Indian Ocean island. Yet, this is a good subject, and the book is well-written, filled with thrill. I liked it. As long as it is presented as what it is and not something else, I recommend it to those interested in the former.
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By A Customer on May 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over The Lip of the World is a FICTIONAL account based on the author's subjective experiences in Madagascar. It is not a recount of Malagasy folklore but rather a history of McElroy's search for her own identity as she looked for it on an island on the other side of the world. Persons interested in Malagasy studies should NOT buy this book; people interested in a black woman's personal history might find it more palatable than I did.
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