Stevenson Under the Palm Trees


Hailed in Europe as a literary, philosophical, and psychological masterpiece, Alberto Manguel’s novella Stevenson Under the Palm Trees is now being published in Canada. With Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous creator of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, as his protagonist, Manguel paints a portrait of the writer’s final days on the island of Samoa.

Fighting the consumption wracking his body, Stevenson has moved with his family to the South Seas to escape the damp climate of his native Scotland. He is embraced by Samoan people, nicknamed Tusitala, "the teller of tales", and his life is spent quietly writing. But one day he encounters a strange man with a familiar Scottish brogue, a missionary with crazed ideas and the ability to mysteriously disappear.

Strange things begin to happen on the island and Stevenson finds himself caught in the middle of a series of inexplicable crimes. Exploring themes of duality and the influence our dreams have on reality. Manguel has crafted a wicked tale about the nature of creation that demonstrates he is a master of the novella form. This is a beautiful, poetic story that will excite and haunt its readers as both Alberto Manguel and Robert Louis Stevenson show that no one can walk innocently under the palm trees.


...the tiniest of this age when fewer and fewer people say they have time to read, to create a provocative fable that can be devoured in a couple of hours is not an accomplishment to sneer at.

Globe and Mail exquisite and haunting gem.


Thanks to Alberto Manguel, the fictional and the real Stevenson meet at last. Did a Mr. Hyde lurk deep inside the master storyteller?

Le Monde

...the lyrical prose sustains a narrative of refinement, resonance, and aching sadness...Manguel proves himself a gifted writer in the short story form.

Toronto Star

This metaphysical thriller reminds us that literature can allow us a risk-taking existential experience.


Questioning a novelist in search of the theme of the double, Alberto Manguel has written a novel that is a masterpiece of the literature of today.

La Marseillaise

A beautiful and disquieting story about the author of Treasure Island.

Le Nueva Espana

By its end, the novella feels less audacious than utterly lucid and logical, elegantly composed and comfortably told, without pomp or excess.

The Record

Stevenson Under the Palm Trees is an unnerving and entertaining novella...

Edmonton Journal

About the Author

Alberto Manguel

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014
Alberto Manguel photo

Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel is the author of A History of Reading, an international bestseller chosen as Best Book of the Year by The Times Literary Supplement, and winner of France's Prix Medici. His book Reading Pictures was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. Manguel was born in Buenos Aires, has lived in Italy, England, and Tahiti, and is now a Canadian citizen.