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The Cannibal Spirit Hardcover – Oct 11 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton; Canadian First edition (Oct. 11 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670065803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670065806
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #842,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Powerful, ambitious…. Fast-paced and full of surprises…. Lyrically beautiful…. Whitehead … weaves the voices of several characters into a compelling psychological portrait of a people on the brink of ruin.” - The Globe and Mail

“A thriller with a Joseph Conrad-inspired plot … [but also] a psychological novel in disguise…. The book’s strength lies in how it depicts Native magic as an experiential reality, respecting the mystery of rituals while avoiding the academic tendency to explain away the sacred.” - The Walrus Magazine

“Engaging.” - The Vancouver Observer

“Unflinching and rigorously unsentimental, The Cannibal Spirit is a thought-provoking and impressive read.” - Quill & Quire

“A surrealistic journey into the heart of darkness where different cultural traditions come together in one man.” - North Shore News

About the Author

Harry Whitehead was born in London . He lived in the Far East for several years in his twenties. Back in London, he worked as a location manager in the film business while studying for degrees in anthropology and a Ph.D. in creative writing, a subject he now teaches at the University of Leicester . He has published short stories and non-fiction in a variety on genres. The Cannibal Spirit is his first novel.

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Most helpful customer reviews

By Penguinista on May 18 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a rare treat of a book! I had my reservations about ordering it as I was not too sure about the historical setting and thought it might be a bit dry. But as soon as you get into it, you get swept up in the setting and involved with the characters. It's set in 1900, and based on the real-life historical figure George Hunt, who comes to symbolise two different cultures. On the one hand, he is deeply a part of the old way of life among the Kwagiulth in British Columbia - a native chieftain and important part of the community. But on the other hand, he can see that this life is changing and a new century is coming - the book is all about how people struggle with different identities and changing times. I loved the portrayal of George's son-in-law Harry, quite a feckless character who in spite of himself ends up getting passionately involved with the struggles of the native people. The way Whitehead evokes the Canadian landscape is absolutely stunning - really makes you feel part of another world. He does a great job of bringing this distant time and place alive, partly through dialogue which is cleverly done [different but also readable] and especially through his descriptions.
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