The extraordinary story of parallel journeys, 100 years apart, into the heart of Latin America, for fans of Sandra Cisneros's Caramelo, Tim Butcher's Blood River, and Bruce Chatwin
As a child, Robin Bayley was enchanted by his grandmother's stories of Mexican adventures—of bandits, wild jungle journeys, hidden bags of silver, and a narrow escape from the bloody Mexican Revolution. But Robin sensed there was more to these stories than anyone knew, and so he set out to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather. Undaunted by the passage of time and a paucity of information, Robin seeks out the places where his great-grandfather Arthur "Arturo" Greenhalgh traveled and lived, determined to uncover his legacy. Along the road Robin encounters witches, drug dealers, a gun-toting Tasmanian Devil, and an ex-Nazi diamond trader. He is threatened with deportation, offered the protection of Colombian guerrilla fighters, and comforted by the blessings of los santos. He falls in love with a beautiful Guatemalan girl with mystical powers and almost gives up his quest, until a sense of destiny drives him on to western Mexico and the discovery of much, much more than he had bargained for.
|Publisher:||Random House UK|
|Product dimensions:||5.12(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.98(d)|
About the Author
Robin Bayley is a full-time writer.
What People are Saying About This
"Bayley unpicks the story of his ancestor's adventures with much skill and persistence. He has a fine ear for dialogue with a Tarantino-style, comic-book delivery, and the ending . . . is genuinely affecting." —Independent
"Sharply observed, very funny, and infused with the longings and possibilities of the road, it’s a succulent tale." —Wanderlust
"A MUST read book" —Rita Reviews.com
"Some days I really need a book that warms the heart and today, for me, The Mango Orchard was one of those. It is for the most part a sweet story of a family that had some important beginnings in the dark days preceding the Mexican Revolution, a large family that a hundred years later discovers itself more deeply, and then opens to the remarkable love the flows out of this discovery." —Mexconnect
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Robin Bayley is most certainly a riveting storyteller. He possesses a brilliant wit and an engaging sense of humor which pull the reader ever so deeply into the world that unfolds. His book, The Mango Orchard, is a true account of a personal journey that is cleverly and intelligently interwoven in a way that is compelling, captivating, richly layered, off beat and honest. It evokes a sense of adventure and feelings about deeper longings and wondering about destiny and the role and power of intergenerational kinships with ancestors, both alive and "not". Captivated by the enthralling stories his grandmother told him about his great-grandfather's adventures in Mexico and the Americas, complete with stories about bandits, the Mexican Revolution, narrow escapes and secret buried treasure, Robin literally did as his first chapter is named. He threw his s*** away and started living! With instincts and intuition as his guides, he left his home in London and set off to retrace his great-grandfather's travels, hoping to find treasure and a hidden truth. Robin's own fascinating story of letting go of the familiar and safe to explore the unknown, marked the beginning of new possibilities and his own adventures with bandits, drug dealers, witches, near death experiences, love and so much more. The treasure he finds in the end is more than he ever imagined. The author's poignant reflections, inherent empathy and natural abilities of keen observation and discernment take the reader on a very visceral journey with him versus having the passive experience of simply reading someone's account of events. The way Bayley skillfully relates his experiences, as varied and unique as they are, in effect pulls the reader into experiencing a sense of not only familiarity and connection with but also a sense of personal investment in the events, characters and story in general. His scenes between himself and his relatives and loved ones were particularly powerful and filled with vulnerability, emotion and meaning. These themes and more are all depicted with a rare raw honesty, that is not thrust upon the reader in an unpalatable fashion: the lasting power and impact of choices made by prior generations on later ones; intergenerational relationships, links, pain, regret, healing; the power of spiritual connections; trust; faith; love; forgiveness; exploration of one's sense of destiny; spirituality; the power of patience and hope, to name a few. Also, for those with a keen sense of adventure and longing for the open road, this book does not disappoint! There is literally "never a dull moment". I invite you to get ready to be surprised and thrilled. But be warned, you may feel compelled to hit the open road or investigate your own family secrets after reading this tale... For me he taps into what Carl Jung referred to as our collective unconscious, thus bridging the gap between individuals. It also provides an opportunity for the reader to more deeply explore the concepts of spiritual energies and our connections as spiritual beings within a vast universe. In a word, The Mango Orchard is simply brilliant. Thank you Robin for the journey. May it be continued....e
Robin Bayley grew up in England hearing stories from his grandmother. Most of these stories centered around his heroic great-grandfather, her father. Arthur Greenhalgh had journeyed to Mexico a hundred years ago to seek his fortune. He established himself, sent for Robin's great-grandmother and married her. They had one child but as the political climate became more dangerous, Arthur sent her back to England. They lived apart for several years, and Robin's grandmother was born and was past her toddler years before she ever saw her father. Arthur finally left Mexico for good as the bloody Mexican Revolution erupted. Somehow Robin always felt there was more to the story, some unfinished business of his great-grandfathers that only he could resolve. At loose ends in England, he decided to retrace Arthur's footsteps and see if he could recreate his life. He went to America, then on to South America. He stopped for a month to learn more Spanish, then continued his journey. Along the way he met witches, drug dealers, military bureaucrats who tried to make travel difficult, and everywhere, warm loving people. The people were poor, but what they had they were willing to share. Robin was able to locate the village his great-grandfather lived in, and it and it's people made their way into his heart. There were surprises everywhere, but at the end of his journey, he knew his family history and all that went on. The Mango Orchard is a fascinating look at both the region, its people and Bayley's journey. His discoveries and travels are compelling enough to make this book a page-turner, and his optimism and enthusiasm are catching. This book is recommended for readers of travel writing and anyone interested in tracing their heritage.
This is the story of the author, Robin Bayley, following in his great-grandfather's footsteps and travelling to Mexico. Arthur Greenhalgh, or Arturo as he was called in Mexico, had travelled there at the end of the 19th century to run a cotton mill. Robin travelled there almost 100 years later to put flesh to the bones of the stories that his grandmother had told him about her father's time in Mexico.This is a really charming and, at times, funny story. There's a quote on the front cover of the paperback from Who Do You Think You Are magazine, and it really is like something you would see on that programme, as the author uncovers various information and meets people connected to his family. I found this an engrossing tale. I loved looking at the pictures in the centre, particularly those of Arthur, as they brought the characters to life for me. I'd recommend this to anybody who enjoys a good story of family life, particularly a true one. Excellent stuff.
I really liked this book a lot! I recommend it to all especially to anyone who has a tie to Mexico. I read it in one day. I started it in the afternoon, went to a pary for a couple of hours and couldn't wait to get back to it. Then I stayed up until 2 am to finish it. Very satisfying.
Could not put this book down. Ended up staying up all night just to see how it ended. The story is one of adventure, dearing and the courage to let go of the ordinary and pursue the extraordinary dreams within.