'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 of the breakdown of populations within the hidden flexibilities and inflexibilities of pre-Columbian civilizations? The Maya were certainly one of the great civilizations of ancient America and the fate of their cities - such as Palenque, Chichen Itza, Tikal, Bonampak - has left unanswered questions.'. Bone is narrator and fictional survivor of the mass-suicide at Jonestown in the remote Guyana forest in 1978. In a Dream-book he tries to heal the trauma he suffered and, interweaving past and future, journeys into his childhood and education and explores his association with the charismatic leader, Jonah Jones, in Guyana and America. In setting out his account he is drawn into the Mayan concept of time which twins past and future, giving his narrative the compulsive eloquence of dream. The result is a striking demonstration, after more than thirty years, of the continuing power of Wilson Harris's imagination.

Read also