'I was obsessed - let me confess - by cities and settlements in the Central and South Americas that are an enigma to many scholars. I dreamt of their abandonment, their bird-masks, their animal-masks ... Did their inhabitants rebel against the priests, did obscure holocausts occur, civil strife, famine, plague? Was Jonestown the latest manifestation...?'
Jonestown (1996), one of Wilson Harris's most acclaimed creations, is a fictional re-imagining of the real-life ritual mass suicide orchestrated by Reverend Jim Jones in the remote Guyana forest in 1978. The novel's narrator, Francisco Bone, has survived the suicide albeit in a traumatized condition. By way of a dream-book he tries to heal his psychic wound, under the influence of the Mayan concept of time that twins past and future.
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