The Paper Nautilus is about loss – the forms it takes, how we go on living in the face of it, and the mysterious ways that new life and new beginnings are born of brokenness. The paper nautilus provides a vivid image of this interplay of death and rebirth since, for new life to begin, the angelically beautiful but fragile shell that sustained a former life must be shattered. Michael Jackson has recourse to his ethnographic fieldwork among the Kuranko of Sierra Leone, as well as autobiography and fiction, in exploring his theme. This book crosses and blends genres most engagingly. Beginning as a series of essays, it gradually morphs into a mesmerising work of the imagination in which the boundary between author and other becomes blurred, and the line between fact and fiction erased.