Brendan Connell's Cannibals of West Papua will be published by Zagawa in July 2015. According to the publisher's website, the shipping of this novel will start towards the end of July 2015.
Information about Brendan Connell:
Brendan Connell was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1970. He has had fiction published in numerous places, including McSweeney's, Adbusters, and the World Fantasy Award winning anthologies Leviathan 3 (The Ministry of Whimsy 2002), and Strange Tales (Tartarus Press 2003). His published books are: The Translation of Father Torturo (Prime Books, 2005), Dr. Black and the Guerrillia (Grafitisk Press, 2005), Metrophilias (Better Non Sequitur, 2010), Unpleasant Tales (Eibonvale Press, 2010), The Life of Polycrates and Other Stories for Antiquated Children (Chômu Press, 2011), The Architect (PS Publishing, 2012), Lives of Notorious Cooks (Chômu Press, 2012), Miss Homicide Plays the Flute (Eibonvale Press, 2013), The Cutest Girl in Class (co-written with Quentin S. Crisp and Justin Isis, Snuggly Books, 2013), The Galaxy Club (Chômu Press, 2014), The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black (PS Publishing, 2014) and Cannibals of West Papua (Zagava, 2015).
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about Cannibals of West Papua:
Few indeed have penetrated the remote areas of West Papua, a land abounding in ritual and magic, and learned its secrets. A breviary of anthropophagy and the supernatural, "Cannibals of West Papua" recounts the remarkable adventures of Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini when he gets drafted into the proselytizing exercises of Dom Duarte Ramiro under the auspices of the Pontifical Mission Guild.
Though Cannibals of West Papua is a sequel to "The Translation of Father Torturo", it also acts as a stand alone novel. Where the previous work trembled between gothic horror and decadent giallo, the present treatise veers into unexplored territories of crisis, to the furthest edge of uninstitutionalized cravings, delivering an indispensible and bloody feast for psychologists, beasts, and epicureans alike.
A REVIEW OF BRENDAN CONNELL'S CANNIBALS OF WEST PAPUA
Brendan Connell never ceases to amaze me with his novels and stories, because he seems to have an endless imagination and an inborn ability to surprise his readers with stunningly original stories that defy easy categorisation. Cannibals of West Papua is his latest novel and what a novel it is! It's an excellent adventure novel with plenty of blood, beautiful prose, surprises and intriguing fantastical elements.
Cannibals of West Papua is a sequel to the author's earlier novel, The Translation of Father Torturo (Prime Books, 2005). Although it's a sequel, it can be read as a standalone novel.
In my opinion, Cannibals of West Papua is a good example of Brendan Connell's imagination, because it's so unique and intriguingly different - not to mention shocking - that you won't find anything like it anywhere else. It's pure Brendan Connell from start to finish.
This novel is in equal parts original, ingenious, clever, entertaining and shocking, because Brendan Connell combines anthropophagy, religion, faith, proselytism, primordial cravings, supernatural elements, violent acts, fantasy and decadent elements in a stunningly effective way. The author coats his story with delicious absurdity and darkly humorous elements that manifest themselves wonderfully in the characters' dialogues and doings (the author has a wonderful sense of black humour). There are even certain scenes in this novel that reminded me a bit of Dante's Divine Comedy.
I'm honestly amazed at how well the author has combined different elements, because nothing feels forced about the story. The story flows naturally and becomes increasingly addictive as the events begin to unfold. When I began to read this novel, it immediately grabbed hold of me and I had to read it in one sitting. The story was so thrilling that I couldn't stop reading it.
Here's information about the story:
- This novel tells of what happens to Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini when he meets Dom Ramiro and accompanies him into the jungle. The events take place in West Papua.
- At the beginning of the story, Dom Ramiro is flying to Patntrm Village. He is keen on proselytizing the primogenous and turning them from the worship of their own gods towards the Christian faith and Christian God. When he arrives in the village he meets Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini. Dom Ramiro thinks that the land must be tamed, its people introduced to God and its rotting jungles transformed into a heavenly country.
- The Awi village that is near the Patntrm Village is under the command of false preacher, Roy Tombuku. Dom Ramiro travels there with a few people, including Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini. When they arrive near the village they come upon a cave that is surrounded by carved images of humans and animals (the cave is believed to be an entrance to the underworld and spirits of the dead enter there). They also see a number of human skulls and Dom Ramiro is told of cannibalistic activities among some of the tribes...
This is the beginning of an unforgettable story that pushes the boundaries of adventure fiction to exciting and unexpected directions. I can honestly say that this is the first time that I've read an adventure story like this one, because it was something totally different. This novel dares to venture along paths not often trodden and goes way beyond the boundaries of normal adventure fiction into the realm of fantastical strangeness.
The author's descriptions of the characters are amazingly vivid and memorable. For example, at the beginning of the novel, he fluently introduces the pilot of the helicopter, Manuel, to his readers with a few carefully chosen sentences and expressions that reveal what kind of a person he is and what he does. He also does the same to Dom Ramiro and Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini, and he gradually deepens these characters.
Dom Ramiro is an interesting character, because he is eager to spread the word of God and convert heathens and native people to Christianity. He's almost like a holy warrior that fights against God's enemies. He's a sturbborn man who doesn't give up easily. He witnesses brutal things among the natives, but still wants to continue his mission to spread the word of God. I enjoyed reading about Dom Ramiro's childhood and what happened to him when he was young, because it added depth to his character.
Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini is also an intriguing and well-created character. He's almost like the opposite of Dom Ramiro, because he has more patience and understanding about the world and people around him. I won't reveal more about him, because I might write too many spoilers, but I'll mention that the author reveals interesting things about him and his past.
Brendan Connell writes convincingly and fluently about how Dom Ramiro and Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini get stranded in the middle of the jungle and what they have to face there when they meet the Up-River tribe whose members practice cannibalism. The experiences of Dom Ramiro and Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini are both shocking and horrifying, because they have to endure captivity and witness horrifying acts that are done to people.
What happens to Dom Ramiro will shock and surprise many readers, because he gradually loses sight of himself and becomes involved in cannibalism and horrifying acts that render him into something else than a civilised human being. These disturbing and violent acts free him from the restraints of his old life and he surrenders himself to primordial cravings and desires. He finds a new place for himself among the cannibals. The author writes about his transformation from a priest to a cannibal in a brilliantly shocking and memorable way.
Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini also experiences new and different kind of things, and he has to do certain things that he wouldn't normally do. When faced with difficult situations, he boldly does what he must do. He even visits the underworld and talks to demons.
The dialogues between Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini and Dom Ramiro are interesting. They reveal how different views they have about many things. Dom Ramiro is a strict follower of his faith, but Fr. Massimo Tetrazzini is more open-minded and knows how to get along with the native people and understands what they need and gives room to them. Dom Ramiro has a tendency to criticise everything that differs from his point of view of how things should be and it results in interesting comments and remarks.
The cruelty related to the cannibalism of the Up-River tribe is described perfectly. The author doesn't sugarcoat any happenings, but writes about different kind of cruelties and violent acts in a realistic way. He writes unflinchingly about how men are being eaten and what kind of things the members of the tribe do to the bodies and body parts.
There are several thought-provoking elements in this novel that will make readers think about what happens in the remote areas of the world to native people who are forced to face our modern way of life and are not capable of defending themselves and their culture against invaders. When you read this novel, you'll most likely begin to wonder if progress and our modern way of life is good for native people, because they and their way of life may be permanently harmed in the process of forced modernisation.
It was interesting that the author examined such problems as the negative and unwanted effects of mining and logging. The benefits of modernity are often denied to the local people, but the disadvantages, which include pollution and cutting of trees, are heaped on these people in great portions and the results can be extremely bad and dangerous to them.
Brendan Connell easily evokes realistic images of lush jungles by writing fluently about the landscapes and plants. His descriptions of the surroundings, trees and plants are excellent.
The author writes beautiful literary prose. Because he uses words and expressions in a perfect way, it's a pleasure to read his prose.
Cannibals of West Papua is a bit akin to the author's amazing Dr. Black stories that were recently published in a short story collection (The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black, PS Publishing 2014), but differs from them. This novel is more explicit and visceral than any of the Dr. Black stories, but just as good and original as them.
I give this novel full five stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it impressed me. This kind of original and beautifully written literary fiction appeals to me, because it's great to read a novel that contains good prose and differs from other novels.
If you haven't had an opportunity to read any of Brendan Connell's stories or novels yet, please read them as soon as possible. His fiction may not be to everyone's liking due to its intelligent, absurd, terrifying, clever and humorous contents, but this kind of quality fiction seldom is to everyone's liking. In my opinion, Brendan Connell is a talented author who deserves to be read by all who enjoy beautifully written fiction with plenty of style and originality.
If you enjoy reading original, beautifully written and mesmerising stories with shocking scenes, Brendan Connell's Cannibals of West Papua belongs to your reading list. It's one of the most intriguing and well written adventure novels you'll ever have a chance to read, because it offers readers a veritable feast of blood and imagination that is difficult to forget. It will please readers who want originality and style from their novels.