From Australian playwright Nowra: a dark, brooding, magical novel (his first to appear in the US) about a New Guinea tribeswoman who marries a man who turns into a despot. ""Sometime in the next few days my husband will have me put to death,"" writes the lovely Palu from her prison cell as the book opens. Her only company an inquisitive gecko lizard and the guard who comes in regularly to rape her, Palu desperately narrates her story. She was born in the hills of New Guinea, but was forced from her tribe as an adolescent when she broke a taboo; later, she became the lover of a kindly white coffee-plantation owner; when he died, she managed to make it to the capital city of Port Andrew and attend a teacher's college. There, Palu met the love of her life and source of her present predicament, Emo. Together, they ""jumped the abyss"" that separated them from ""civilization,"" learned the white man's tongue, and began to teach other New Guineans. After Independence, Emo became a political radical, and he and Palu were forced to flee to Australia. Finally arriving back in New Guinea years later, as leader of a successful revolution, Emo tries to force change on his superstitious people too fast, and mounds of western goods lie rotting on the docks. Seeking a scapegoat, he jails Palu--who has never been able to bear him a son--and brands her a witch. Now she reverts to her back-country ways, believing in spirits and demons, and waits to die. . . A forceful, exotic novel, which movingly presents a microcosm of the troubled Third World nations in the post-colonial era.