Wild Coast (Paperback)
Travels on South America's Untamed Edge
John Gimlette travels to Guyana, to the Wild Coast in South America, and discovers his ancestral colonial history - one of brutal, cruel and often uncomfortable truths
Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2012
Between the Orinoco and the Amazon lies a fabulous forested land, barely explored. Much of Guiana seldom sees sunlight, and new species are often tumbling out of the dark trees. Shunned by the conquistadors, it was left to others to carve into colonies. Guyana, Suriname and Guyane Française are what remain of their contest, and the 400 years of struggle that followed.
Now, award-winning author John Gimlette sets off along this coast, gathering up its astonishing story. His journey takes him deep into the jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to penal colonies, outlandish forts, remote Amerindian villages, a 'Little Paris' and a space port. He meets rebels, outlaws and sorcerers; follows the trail of a vicious Georgian revolt, and ponders a love-affair that changed the face of slavery. Here too is Jonestown, where, in 1978, over 900 Americans, members of Reverend Jones's cult, committed suicide. The last traces are almost gone now, as the forest closes in.
Beautiful, bizarre and occasionally brutal, this is one of the great forgotten corners of the Earth: the Wild Coast.
Reviews for Wild Coast
Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland
Ianthe Butt Real Travel
Siobhan Murphy Metro
Gimlette is an old-school traveller, very British, very cheery.
A barrister by trade, the author has an uncanny ability to nail down his characters with a few well-chosen words... Gimlette brings history to life. He artfully merges assiduous research with a storyteller's gift.
Oliver Balch Guardian
Tom Hawker Wanderlust
John Gimlette is sure to secure a name for himself as both a talented writer and a rare traveller who, as documented in the dark chronicles of his book, has visited South America's wild coast and returned apparently unscathed. Fortunately, his writing sculpts an interesting narrative too, and he conveys the region's horror stories with a healthy dose of humour, knowledge, sincerity and poetry...
As with all good travel books, the pace of Gimlette's investigations and the idiosyncratic nature of his discoveries, no matter how small, are infectious enough to ensure his account holds its own against these literary greats.
Remarkable... Gimlette is, refreshingly, an unfailing enthusiast... Wild Coast is driven by extraordinary dedication, an insatiable curiosity in everything and an enormous empathy for other people. Gimlette's descriptions of landscapes are often hauntingly beautiful, his sense of humour is engagingly dead-pan... His book is characterised by a thoroughness of research that puts most travel writers to shame...
a lucid and lively account of a multi-cultural history...
A reminder... of the way in which travel literature can still fulfil its role of bringing to life some of the world's unjustly neglected corners.
Michael Jacobs Spectator
Chairman of the judges Tony Wheeler
John Walsh Independent on Sunday