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Jul 05

The Drago Tree

The Drago Tree

By Isobel Blackthorn


The Drago Tree is a multi-layered book. On the surface it is the story of Ann Salter, a geologist who arrives on Lanzarote seeking peace and solace after the breakdown of her marriage. She meets Richard, an author and married man, with whom she has an unsatisfactory flirtation. Through him she meets Domingo, an indigenous potter, selling his wares to the tourists on the island whilst resenting their presence. He is the token representative of the Canarian population and made unattractive by his hypocrisy and resentment. For me this spoiled the book as I felt that it presented the islanders inaccurately and meant that readers who did not know the island would be put off coming here.

As someone who has lived on the island for nearly twenty years I can honestly say I have never met anyone displaying Domingo’s attitude. No doubt they exist, perhaps in the older generations but the island has a history of relying on one main industry at a time and the local people are shrewd enough to understand that the tourist industry, centred round three resorts, provides them with employment whilst allowing them to retain much of their culture and heritage, of which they are intensely, and quite rightly proud.

http://writersend.com/2014/06/06/bite-size-histories-lanzarote-chapter-5-industrial-evolution/

 

There is also a description of an insipid meal in which an impatient chef provides tough chicken with a resentful attitude when in my extensive experience the food, especially outside the resorts is fantastic and amazing value for money.

 

The love story is thoughtful but I found it rather thin and not a strong enough hook on which to hang the other strands of the book. The chunks of history are interesting but their inclusion is somewhat contrived.

 

I think the author has made a brave attempt to write something that is ‘more than’ a simple love story, but for me she has missed and/or failed to transmit the magic and wonder of the island, its stark grandeur, beauty and welcoming friendly atmosphere and none of her main characters particularly appealed to me.

 

I was really looking forward to reading this book, set on the island that has become my home, but sadly I was disappointed.

Sue Almond

February 2016

 

Category: Book Reviews.Tags:Books Lanzarote

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