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Old 02-09-2008, 01:06 AM   #1
Madam Broshkina
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Hearn, Lafcadio: Chita :A Memory of Last Island:. v1, 9 Feb 2008

From fantasticfiction.co.uk:

On 10 August 1856, the Gulf of Mexico reared up and hurled itself over Last Island, near New Orleans. The storm essentially split the island in half and swept much of it away, including its inhabitants, wealthy vacationers, and its resort hotel. There were few survivors.


Lafcadio Hearn used these basic historical facts to create Chita.


Originally published in 1889, this long out-of-print novella is a minor masterpiece that is by turns mysterious, mesmerizing, and tragic. In the aftermath of the storm, a Spanish fisherman wades into the Gulf to pick through debris. Among the bodies, he finds one that is yet alive, a small Creole girl. She remembers only her first name, Conchita. Her parents are presumed to have died in the storm. Raised by the fisherman's family, Chita grows into a strong, independent young woman. Her story is counterpointed by that of her lost father, a doctor who thinks that Chita is dead and, as a result, devotes himself to helping others in need. When he comes to Last Island to aid a man with heart disease, he encounters Chita. The consequences are devastating.

This beautifully lush, ornately styled tale of south Louisiana in the nineteenth century is a haunting novel that is both impressionistic in its evocation of nature and realistic in its characterizations and depictions of life in this region.
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