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The Shark God: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in the South Pacific by [Montgomery, Charles]
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Length: 384 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Montgomery's great-grandfather Henry was an Anglican missionary in the South Pacific at the end of the 19th century, and his book, The Light of Melanesia, recounted the horrors of heathen life and the attempts to bring "One True God" to the islands. Curious as to whether the missionaries or spirits ultimately triumphed, Canadian writer Montgomery sought the real history of the islands. His plan was to follow his great-grandfather's route through the South Pacific. He writes, "I would cross the reefs and wade to shore on Nukapu [in the Solomon Islands]... where history and myth would be made utterly clear to me by someone very old and wise." Montgomery makes his disbelief—in both the religion of his great-grandfather and that of the Melanesians—quite plain. Yet he grapples with his doubt and longs to understand the mystical nature of the natives. With exquisite writing, Montgomery lovingly captures the beauty and the horrors, the mysteries and the shams of the people and places he visits. His is a skeptical eye, and Montgomery is resistant to the miracles the people wish to show him, which admittedly are not terribly convincing, but he doggedly persists, seeking to be convinced of something, anything. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Montgomery's great-grandfather was the Right Reverend Henry Hutchinson Montgomery, a missionary bishop who had lived on the islands of Melanesia. The author discovered a book that the bishop had left, which contained faded monotones of black men clutching spears and photographs of bare-chested women. The book contained an account of a journey made more than a century ago, cataloguing the horrors of perilous missionary work. Dozens of traders and evangelists had been murdered on the shores of the islands that were scattered across 1,200 miles of ocean between Fiji and New Guinea. The unluckiest ones were cooked and eaten. Montgomery went to these islands to probe the bond between faith and magic. He found that the inhabitants had infused Christianity with the sorcery and shark spirits of their ancestors to invent a pantheon of new gods. The author's documentation and analyses of these people and their world is a haunting reading experience. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • File Size: 871 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (March 17, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 17, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JMKO14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,273 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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