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The Gold Machine

In the Tracks of the Mule Dancers

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What does following in the footsteps of our ancestors mean? Iain Sinclair takes it literally.

In The Gold Machine, Sinclair and his daughter travel through Peru, guided by the itinerary of an ill-fated colonial expedition led by his great-grandfather, Arthur Sinclair.

Victorian Adventist missionaries are contrasted with today's ecotourists, coffee plantations with cocaine territories and the charms of family history are set against the brutal realities of land grabs and empire run amok.

A Boys’ Own Adventure story in leather-bound book is transformed into a shocking tale of the violated rights of indigenous people, secret dealings between London finance and Peruvian government, and the collusion of the church in colonial expansion. In other words, a beautiful valley is now the property of a British corporation. In Sinclair's haunting prose, no place escapes its past, and nor can we.

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (September 2, 2021)
  • Length: 356 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861540716

‘Sentence for sentence, there is no more interesting writer at work in English.’

– John Lanchester

‘Sinclair walks every inch of his wonderful psychogeographies, pacing out huge word-courses like an architect laying out a city on an empty plain.’

– J.G. Ballard

More books from this author: Iain Sinclair