Editorial Reviews for this title:
Marc, in search of a dream, leaves London and sets out for the island where his grandfather was born and where his father's plane was shot down in flames. It is an island once said to be near the edge of heaven, but now ravaged and despoiled by war. There by a glittering lake he sees the subversive Uva, an eco-warrior releasing emerald doves. Finding her launches him into a world of passion and difficult choices. But their affair is cut short when she disappears. Desperate to find her, Marc embarks on a final terrifying journey that will test all his beliefs as he confronts violence in a quest for love.
An oddly ethereal futuristic quality-- a touch of JG Ballard even--permeates Romesh Gunesekera's third novel, Heaven's Edge. The book's protagonist, Marc, is a "man in search of a father or perhaps in search of himself". He has travelled from London to the beautiful but deeply troubled island of his ancestors. His late grandfather Eldon, an Eastern sage-like figure whose "dodgy homilies" clutter the narrative like speed humps, left the isle more than 50 years before. A staunch pacifist, Eldon was shocked when his own son, Lee (Marc's father) returned to fight, and die, in a war there. On the island, Marc is enraptured by Uva, a beautiful local woman. Initially he believes he has, at last, found the exotic homeland conjured up by his grandfather's more colourful stories. In between bouts of sensuous love-making, Uva educates Marc about the harsher realities of island life--realities Marc becomes all too quickly aware of when he is hauled off by the authorities. Separated from Uva and unsure if she is alive or dead, he finds himself on the run with her flouncy transvestite friend Jaz and an alchemical metal worker, Kris. Interweaving their adventures with Marc's memories and reflections, Gunesekera creates a mood of impeding doom. (The gradual erosion of Marc's innocence is the constant and recurring theme.) The military regime, like the island itself, is never actually named. Fragments of peripheral information give hints but the setting is disquieting and dreamlike; enhancing the sense of omnipresent and universal evil. Once a firm admirer of his grandfather's moral stance Marc slowly comes to realise that "a world that you care so much for, that you believe in" has to be protected. Subtly and poetically written, this novel occasionally creaks under the weight of its ambitions. Some of the characters are perhaps too thinly drawn and the sequences unconvincing but Gunesekera's magical prose makes enchanting reading. -- Travis Elborough
"A Landscape almost hallucinogenic in its abundance is matched by a lushness of language," -- Maya Jaggi, The Guardian, 11th May 2002
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