"An evil wind blows through the air of Bass Strait, promising the birth of a charismatic child.
"On the far northwest coast of Tasmania at Cape Grimm lies the isolated community of Skye, which practices a religion that reveres the imagination.
"When Caleb Mean is born, his grandmother has a vision telling her he is the Chosen One.
"On Caleb's thirty-third birthday, he locks the whole community into the meeting hall and incinerates them.
"The only survivors are Caleb, his lover Virginia, and their baby daughter, Golden.
"How could such a thing happen? Do the answers lie in the history of Skye itself, founded by the unlikely survivors of a nineteenth-century shipwreck? Or do the only real clues lies in the dark truths of fairytales?
"Cape Grimm is a chilling and bewitching novel about the terrible power of faith, and confirms Carmel Bird as one of our finest and most original writers."
"Birdís prose style delights in coincidences and conundrums, in the playful and dangerous blend of fact and fiction. She is not afraid of spinning out the many glittering facets of a theme." - Dorothy Johnston, Canberra Times
Once there was a fair country where the people lived in peace and in prosperity until there came a time when a strange child appeared and the land was turned to dust, to dust and ashes. A strange and powerful child came and the land fell away into dust and ashes, and the child gazed at the land, gazed with his great gleaming aluminium eyes. The sun beat down upon the surface of the land and no rain fell for a thousand days, and for a thousand and one nights no rain fell. The crops withered in the red earth which opened up with patterns of cracks, the cracks in the visage of a wild old woman. The cracks yawned open. The earth yawned and no rain came. And the cattle died, and the sheep - and the trees began to hum. Then the forests exploded into flame and the words in all prayers were 'bushfire' and 'drought'. Dear Lord, save us from the flames; Dear Lord please send rain. Holy Mary Mother of God, intercede for us. Then came the fearful word of 'famine', and then came 'plague and pestilence' and next were added war and tribulation. And sorrow and sadness and loss. Heartbreak. Somewhere in there were the locusts and the winds. The winds, the hot and cold winds blowing hot and cold across the land.
From the Flamingo paperback edition, 2004.
This novel was longlisted for the 2006 Imternational IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
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Last modified: November 28, 2005.