Luca Antara: Passages In Search of Australia


A New Zealander transplanted to Australia in the early 1980s, Martin Edmond divided his time between learning to get around Sydney as a taxi driver and obsessively researching the discovery of the mythic land of Luca Antara—or, Australia itself. Edmond’s somewhat indolent ramble—by turns memoir, travelogue, history, and fiction—takes the reader from recent-day Sydney to 17th century Southeast Asia, and then back to the present. He traces the paths of Portuguese explorers, focusing on the story of Antonio da Nova, a servant who was sent to find the mysterious Luca Antara; along the way, Edmond deftly ties in da Nova’s story with other 17th century accounts of voyages, discoveries, and rebellions, based on both primary source documents and his imagination. Dumped by his girlfriend, a drug- and alcohol-addled Edmonds leaves Sydney to meet a mysterious correspondent who claims to have proof that the Portuguese did land in Australia in the 1600s. Edmond’s travels through Malaysia and Indonesia parallel da Nova’s trek, from the perils of sea travel to the vagaries of native guides. The picture created by Edmond is fascinating and fluidly written, and a worthy diversion from straightforward historical fiction.

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(US) $32.95
(UK) £10.99

(US) 9781842432723
(UK) 9781842432891


272 (US), 288 (UK)