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South Wind   By: (1868-1952)

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South Wind by Norman Douglas is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that takes readers on a journey to the fictional island of Nepenthe in the Mediterranean Sea. Filled with vivid descriptions and colorful characters, this book offers a unique blend of humor, satire, and a deep exploration of human nature.

Set in the early 20th century, the story follows the lives of the residents of Nepenthe and their interactions with an incoming group of British visitors. Douglas ingeniously uses this clash of cultures to delve into themes of colonialism, decadence, and societal expectations. Through witty dialogues and ironic situations, the author skillfully critiques the hypocritical behaviors of both the locals and the visitors.

What makes South Wind truly exceptional is its masterful prose. Douglas' writing is lyrical, poetic, and filled with vivid imagery that transports readers straight into the Mediterranean paradise. Whether describing the beauty of the landscape, the scents of the flowering plants, or the idiosyncrasies of the island's inhabitants, the author's words evoke a sensory experience that is both enchanting and alluring.

Furthermore, the characters in South Wind are complex and multifaceted. Each one carries their own secrets, desires, and flaws, making them feel incredibly authentic and relatable. Their interactions are realistic and often laced with subtle humor, revealing deeper truths about human relationships and the masks we wear in society.

One aspect that may divide readers is Douglas' progressive approach to sexuality, which was considered controversial at the time of publication. The author fearlessly explores taboo topics, such as homosexuality and extramarital affairs, challenging societal norms and moral codes. While some may find this refreshing and ahead of its time, others might be taken aback or even offended by the explicitness with which these subjects are addressed.

However, regardless of personal opinions, South Wind is a true literary gem that stands the test of time. It offers a rich tapestry of themes, emotions, and social insights that are relevant even today. Douglas' sharp wit and keen observations about human nature make this novel not only an entertaining read but also a thought-provoking one.

In conclusion, South Wind is an exquisite novel that enchants with its lush prose, satirical humor, and complex characters. Norman Douglas' depiction of Nepenthe and its inhabitants is a literary feast that transports readers to a world filled with beauty, intrigue, and social commentary. It is a must-read for anyone who appreciates literature that goes beyond surface-level storytelling and explores the depths of the human psyche.

First Page:

Edited by Charles Aldarondo Colin Choat





First Published March 1917


The bishop was feeling rather sea sick. Confoundedly sea sick, in fact.

This annoyed him. For he disapproved of sickness in every shape or form. His own state of body was far from satisfactory at that moment; Africa he was Bishop of Bampopo in the Equatorial Regions had played the devil with his lower gastric department and made him almost an invalid; a circumstance of which he was nowise proud, seeing that ill health led to inefficiency in all walks of life. There was nothing he despised more than inefficiency. Well or ill, he always insisted on getting through his tasks in a businesslike fashion. That was the way to live, he used to say. Get through with it. Be perfect of your kind, whatever that kind may be. Hence his sneaking fondness for the natives they were such fine, healthy animals.

Fine, healthy animals; perfect of their kind! Africa liked them to "get through with it" according to their own lights. But there was evidently a little touch of spitefulness and malice about Africa; something almost human. For when white people try to get through with it after their particular fashion, she makes hay of their livers or something... Continue reading book >>

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