The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith
"Severely afflicted, doomed never to be taller than three foot six, Tristan Smith faces death and danger from the first moment of his energetic and ambitious life.
"This is an unprecedented work of the imagination, a modern world as packed with incident and character as a Victorian novel, an allegory that is most remarkable for the thread of love and loyalty that runs through its richly imagined tapestry."
My name is Tristan Smith. I was born in Chemin Rouge in Efica - which is to say as much to you, I bet, as if I declared I was from the moon.
And yet if you are going to make much sense of me, you have to know a little of my country, a country so unimportant that you are already confusing the name with Ithaca or Africa, a name so unmemorable it could only have been born of a committee, although it remains, nonetheless, the home of nearly three million of the earth's people, and they, like you, have no small opinion of themselves, have artists and poets who are pleased to criticize its shortcomings and celebrate its charms, who return home to the eighteen little islands between the tropic of Capricorn and the 30th parallel, convinced that their windswept coastline is the most beautiful on earth. Like 98 per cent of the planet's population, we Eficans may be justly accused of being provincial, parochial, and these qualities are sometimes magnified by your habit of hearing 'Ithaca' when we say 'Efica'.
From the UQP hardback edition, 1994.
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Last modified: October 25, 2001.