The gardens of Mars

A journey - both historical and contemporary - among the fantastical landscapes, beguiling creatures and isolated tribes of the world's fourth island: Madagascar.

An improbable world beckons. We think we know Madagascar but it's too big, too eccentric, and too impenetrable to be truly understood. If it was stretched out across Europe, the islands would reach from London to Algiers, and yet its road network is barely bigger than tiny Jamaica's. There is no evidence of any human life until about 10,000 years ago, and, when eventually people settled, it was migrants from Borneo - 3,700 miles away - who came out on top.

As well as visiting every corner of Madagascar, John Gimlette journeys deep into its past in order to better understand how Madagascar became what it is today. Along the way, he meets politicians, sorcerers, gem prospectors, militiamen, rioters, lepers and the descendants of seventeenth-century pirates.

 

"Gimlette is in the highest Class"
The Daily Telegraph

"This is classic Gimlette - an utter delight ... a wonderfully witty and wry book, the author's wanderings through Madagascar lit all the way by his telling eye for detail and accustomed panache"
Benedict Allen.

"Gimlette writes with enormous wit, indignation and a heightened sense of the absurd... [he] has given us a cast of characters as vivid as any by Dickens or Waugh."
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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John Gimlette

John Gimlette is the author of five books: At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, Theatre of Fish, Panther Soup, Wild Coast and Elephant Complex. In 1997, he won the Shiva Naipaul Prize for travel writing, and, his first two books were nominated by The New York Times as being among the '100 Notable Books of the Year'.

In 2012, Wild Coast won the Dolman Travel Book Prize for 2012, and was later named by The Daily Telegraph as one on the 'Twenty Best Travel Books of all Time'. John's travels have taken him to places as diverse as Eritrea and Laos, through most of South America, and to over eighty countries in between'.

Books

Out now - 'Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka'
Click on the books for more information.