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The Gardens of Mars: Madagascar, an Island Story Reviews

The Gardens of Mars: Madagascar, an Island Story by John Gimlette

The Gardens of Mars: Madagascar, an Island Story

John Gimlette

Score pending

1 review

Category: Travel, Non-fiction
Imprint: Head of Zeus
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 7 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9781788544726

A portrait of Madagascar, the world's fourth-largest island and a place of enduring fascination for its rich biodiversity (including a plethora of endemic species), as well as for its tangled and troubled history.

4 stars out of 5
16 Jan 2021

"This is a peculiarly handsome production. "

Gimlette is adept at mixing with both the lowlife and aristocrats of Malagasy life, from the malaso gangsters of the interior to the society ladies in the salons de thé at the capital’s venerable Hôtel Colbert, eating their heavy, dense croissants. Travelling through some of the sadly denuded forests — only 10 per cent of the original remains, so that in a nice phrase he describes it as ‘like driving through the mind of Paul Nash, a lustrous landscape of stumps and bone’ — he still sees bats that look like foxes and a wild collection of natural ‘limestone cathedrals’ clustered together at the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, their spires reaching 100 metres into the air.