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Graeme Neale
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Chaucerian Translation
Chaucerian Translation
archipelagoaproblem.blogspot.com
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Here is the expanded version of the blurb: 

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Despite one of the characters questioning the necessity of following a clear linear narrative, Archipelago does have one.  Based in part on the ‘Philomena Myth’, the story is merely a vehicle to convey underlying themes - with varying styles for each chapter, mimetically corresponding to different environmental factors of the islands in the Galápagos Archipelago.  This abstraction echoes the variegated nature of each of us in our communities, towns and islands.
The novel is book-ended by prologue and epilogue, functioning to draw the reader into an apparently prosaic world of one ordinary day in the lives of four people.  These are as follows: Stephen Rei, junior sub-editor of an international publishing house; Philomena Cordova, émigré from the Galápagos Islands; Suzel King, micro-biologist and Philomena’s step-sister; and Parveen Pattni, who works in her father’s newsagents.

It begins one October 1998 Saturday morning, with suggestion that Stephen and Philomena are aiming to meet on this day, but this is deception.  In reality Philomena begins a lengthy ‘Joycean’ odyssey through the town, during which she meets Parveen, ruminates on her past, experiences the maelstrom of mercantile life, writes a short poem, and contemplates the nature of language.  The day ends wickedly, with Terry King (Suzel’s husband) raping her.  
Stephen discovers a body on a train and Philomena is complicit in this (as revealed in the novel’s dénouement) for the body is Terry. 
Suzel’s tale is similarly unhappy.  Her husband, following one too many violent incidents, hospitalises her.  

It is only Parveen, with her emergent sexuality, who has a happy outcome on meeting and falling in love with an American lady, whilst realising an innate talent to paint.

Stephen Rei is the most sea-changed character.  Initially seen as hesitant and hedonistic, as he reads the sage words of Philomena he acquires a newly contented demeanour.  Not, however, entailing resignation.

Other sub plots in the chapter’s vignettes echo perils and concerns of the major characters, including the tale of Mr Dibs, Suzel’s talking dog; political discussions between two elderly gentlemen; and a quasi-philosophical exegesis of time and memory, presented within the narrative as a play.  These illustrate in artistic verisimilitude this presented tragedy of the ‘Philomena Myth’ and thereby mirror worrying circumstances of how we reconcile the antagonistic forces of segregation and connection.  

As the novel ends we emerge from the ‘town world’ into our own surface reality – that which we are a part of, possessing the ineluctable and present-day concerns of co-existence.
GHN 23.02.15
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Archipelago .....  More or less finished it now.  So here is an opportunity to say more about it.
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Archipelago .....  More or less finished it now.  So here is an opportunity to say more about it.
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