Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Mc-Pa)

Melville, Pauline

story tell ventriloquist

(Guyanese, 1941– )

Melville's collection of stories, Shape-Shifter (1990), picked up major literary awards. The characters, lively and odd and often malevolent, stay in the mind. ‘You Left the Door Open’, about an abuser summoned by the imagination of the victim, is terrifying. The settings, whether in Guyana or London, are sharply observed, the language so full of colour that you have the sense of encountering a visual artist. The Migration of Ghosts (1998) is just as imaginatively daring—for example, an Orinoco parrot encounters Descartes—but with an intellectual rigour which saves the conceits drifting off into cloudy magic realism. Melville's The Ventriloquist's Tale (1997, Whitbread First Novel Award) is a rich, expansive, sensuous depiction of Amerindian life, which is about (among other things) belonging. Characteristically, the ventriloquist-narrator embodies the search for the right voice to tell the story, and the right story to tell.

Lawrence Scott, Earl Lovelace.


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