- Hardcover: 424 pages
- Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre; 1st edition (Feb. 8 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1553654641
- ISBN-13: 978-1553654643
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 771 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #928,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In the Fabled East: A Novel Hardcover – Feb 8 2010
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Quill & Quire
Adam Lewis Schroeder’s second novel ranges from France at the turn of the 20th century to French Indochina in the 1930s. Weaving together a host of narrators and timelines, the story primarily follows the paths of two characters: Adélie Tremier and Pierre Lazarie. Adélie is a young widow suffering from tuberculosis. In 1909, she abandons her Parisian home in search of a fabled spring of immortality deep in the forests of Laos. Lazarie, meanwhile, is a romantic academic turned Saigon bureaucrat who in 1936 is sent by Adélie’s army captain son to find his long-lost mother.
The novel’s strength lies in its descriptions; the focus is on immersing the reader in a place, rather than on the plot itself. Poetic turns of phrase abound, as in Lazarie’s assessment of the East: “It is one thing to wander through Saigon to the clangour of automobile horns and say to oneself, ‘This is the East’; it is quite another to whisper it as a thousand-year-old temple juts out from a hillside to vanish the next moment behind the jungle canopy. ‘The East’ is an ever-fleeting thing.” These vivid descriptions give the reader the impression of experiencing foreign environments first-hand.
The many different time frames and locales lend the novel an almost mythic feel, but the narrative shifts are too frequent and abrupt, making it difficult for the reader to become fully engaged in the often slow-paced plot.
"Schroeder is a sensitive, postcolonial Canadian alert to the facades erected by suffering natives and bluff imperialists alike." (Georgia Straight)
"A sublime and often hilarious travel adventure." (Stephen Smysnuik Toro Magazine)
"No other writer gets the heat, the chaos, the shimmering otherness of the East quite like Penticton's Adam Lewis Schroeder. His second novel, In the Fabled East, is a witty romp through colonial Indochina that focuses on two French nationals separated by time and gender. . . united partly by war, partly by dissolution of empire, but mainly by a mother-and-child reunion." (Nancy Wigston Toronto Star)
"Schroeder deliciously conjures the mad, hot, stinking confusion that is Indochine, the jumble of native and colonial customs, the bullock carts, betel juice, rickshaws and rice pounders alongside white linen suits, afternoon cocktails and louche French girls with their tennis games and sunstroke. A book to read, a writer to watch." (Kate Wallace Telegraph-Journal)
"At first, [In the Fabled East] is leisurely paced, as if suffused with the heat of Vietnam and Laos. But it becomes more dramatic and gripping as Adelie's story becomes more other-worldly. Ultimately, it's a magical story about the permanence of love, romantic, connubial, maternal, and patriotic." (Uptown Magazine)
"Schroeder's considerable research is evident and the descriptions beautifully written." (Publishers Weekly)
"The author demonstrates a strong sense of place with well-written descriptive passages that make readers feel they are right there in colonial Indochina with the protagonists...good choice for general readers who prefer a light, 'popcorn' style of fiction set in exotic locations." (Library Journal)
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And then there is Adelie. A woman who had a purpose right from the beginning of her life in France to half way across the world and to the edge of her own death. Schroeder weaves their wanderings together until the two stories that start off 25 years apart are brought wonderfully together. Drop everything, you won't want to put it down.
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