Helena Drysdale


Dancing with the Dead

a journey through Zanzibar and Madagascar, published by Hamish Hamilton 1991 (illustrated by Richard Pomeroy)

Dancing with the Dead
'She has an exceptionally good eye for fleeting, but tell-tale details. A brilliant saga.'
Richard Dowden, The Independent

'Drysdale is one of the smartest among a vast shoal of literary travellers: witty, self-aware, with the now obligatory keen eye for bizarre third world collisions between trad and mod ways of life. Good stories, good writing, good fun.'
New Statesman

'Infuses personal quest theme with historical and cultural data. Investigates worship of ancestors, especially cult of exhumation, and finds in class-bound, retrospective Malagasy society a mirror for her own. Intelligent.'
Mark Cocker, Weekend Telegraph

'Absorbing. The extraordinary mix of cultures - Indonesian, African and European - is skilfully and sympathetically portrayed. The unfamiliar history of the island is blended with personal narrative so that the one is illuminated by the other. There are memorable encounters...deeply moving.'
A. M Daniels, TLS

'Beautifully written in lyrical prose that flows easily by, Dancing with the Dead has warmth, humour and honesty.'
Birmingham Post

'The story is not just an exploration of the culture and history of these exotic islands but it is also an exploration of our relationship with our ancestry.'
Western Morning News

© Helena Drysdale 2006
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