John Hemming

The Girth of the Earth

The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder and Survival in the Amazon


Doubleday 352pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

MY HEART SANK when I saw the titillating subtitle of this book. I guessed at once that it was about the eighteenth-century heroine Isabel Godin des Odonnais, who survived a harrowing succession of disasters on the Amazon. Her extraordinary tale was a bestseller in its day, and it has often been retold.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,