The Song of the Stork and the Dromedary
A breathtakingly rich novel about love and about literature as a way to triumph over death
This masterful novel spans two centuries in a mosaic of styles and genres. Its central figure is the uncompromising Eliza May, modeled after Emily Brontë.
In early 19th-century Yorkshire, she and her sisters Millicent and Helen lead a reclusive existence marred by poverty and disease. They find fulfilment in their love of reading and writing books. When, after dozens of rejections, the novels by Millicent and Eliza May are finally published (using male pseudonyms), Millicent’s novel becomes a huge success, whereas Eliza May’s novel is labeled ‘sick’ and ‘immoral’. In eleven chapters, each of which could just as well be a standalone novella, Eliza May’s life story is told by people who knew her personally, biographers centuries later, a mysterious notebook and characters whose lives become serendipitously intertwined with Eliza’s.