Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes

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In this extraordinary fiction debut--rich with love and betrayal, history and intellectual passion--two remarkable narratives converge on Easter Island, one of the most remote places in the world.

It is 1913. Elsa Pendleton travels from England to Easter Island with her husband, an anthropologist sent by the Royal Geographical Society to study the colossal moai statues, and her younger sister. What begins as familial duty for Elsa becomes a grand adventure; on Easter Island she discovers her true calling. But, out of contact with the outside world, she is unaware that World War I has been declared and that a German naval squadron, fleeing the British across the South Pacific, is heading toward the island she now considers home.

Sixty years later, Dr. Greer Farraday, an American botanist, travels to Easter Island to research the island’s ancient pollen, but more important, to put back the pieces of her life after the death of her husband.

A series of brilliant revelations brings to life the parallel quests of these two intrepid young women as they delve into the centuries-old mysteries of Easter Island. Slowly unearthing the island’s haunting past, they are forced to confront turbulent discoveries about themselves and the people they love, changing their lives forever.

Easter Island is a tour de force of storytelling that will establish Jennifer Vanderbes as one of the most gifted writers of her generation.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Jennifer Vanderbes

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Jennifer Vanderbes is a graduate of Yale University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was a McCreight Fellow in Fiction at the University of Wisconsin, and most recently was the Fellow in Creative Writing at Colgate University.From the Hardcover edition.
Published May 27, 2003 by Dial Press. 320 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Easter Island

Kirkus Reviews

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In parallel narratives, Vanderbes describes the movements of a German naval fleet pursued by British warships, which anchored off (and perhaps visited) Easter Island—and also the 1973 journey of Dr. Greer Faraday, whose mission is to study the island’s ecosystem in hopes of determining how plant ...

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The Guardian

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Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes Little, Brown £12.99, pp371 With its implausibly huge sculptures and indecipherable tablets, Easter Island remains an enigma.

May 18 2003 | Read Full Review of Easter Island

Publishers Weekly

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Restrained passion and conflicted loyalties drive this sweeping debut novel, in which two women of different eras experience the mysteries of Easter Island.

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Book Reporter

• Read an Excerpt • Reading Group Guide Many reviewers and readers have commented on Jennifer Vanderbes's use of remote Easter Island and its geography in her debut novel, yet few have remarked on her use of the island's name for her title.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Easter Island

Entertainment Weekly

Why, centuries ago, did the native people of Easter Island carve .

Jun 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Easter Island


In 1912, 22-year-old Elsa boards a ship to Easter Island as part of her husband's anthropological expedition.

Jun 30 2003 | Read Full Review of Easter Island

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