By Ceridwen Dovey
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670018567, 192pp.)
Publication Date: February 28, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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A president has been overthrown by a military coup in a nameless country in an unspecified era. The president's barber, chef, and portraitist are imprisoned, with many others, in a remote palace in the hills high above the city center. Before the coup, these three men worked with unquestioning loyalty, serving the president in seemingly benign jobs. Now, forced to serve the country's new leader, they begin to reconsider their role in the old regime.
In simple, elegant prose Blood Kin alternates between the voices of the barber, the chef, and the portraitist. Later in the book their wives, lovers, and daughters tell their own tales. As the old order falls, so does the veil that hides the truth about these men and women's secret passions. No one, it seems, is entirely immune to the many temptations of power.
Ceridwen Dovey's debut is a welcome addition to the important tradition of allegorical writing about political upheaval and personal guilt. Her clever, magnetic story will resonate with fans of J. M. Coetzee, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Gabriel García M