?

Log in

Africa

Swahili For the Broken Hearted

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


This one was an 'okay' read. Peter Moore, the author of Swahili For the Broken Hearted, sets off on a journey from Cape Town to Cairo, travelling cheaply, ie. minibuses, ordinary buses, lifts from lorries, after breaking up with his girlfriend. Much of the book was interesting. This was the real Africa not the Africa the tourist sees. He pulls no punches about the poverty and the desperation he observes, the political turmoil and so on, and for that alone it's a worthwhile read. His writing didn't exactly set the book alight though, which is a shame because it did have its moments:

'As I ate the children reached across and tentatively stroked my hair. My flat soft hair was a revelation to them, so different from the coarse, springy hair they had. In the days of apartheid hair was used to determine your colour. A pencil was stuck in your hair and if it fell out you were white. If it didn't you were deemed coloured and sent off to a township'.

This was in Khayelitsha, a black township in Cape Town, a supposedly dangerous place for a white man to venture, so the man doesn't lack bottle. Nor honesty, he loathed some of the countries, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia for instance, and doesn't hesitate to say so. Not bad. I'd give it three and half out of five.

Not a book rec. now but a movie one. Some weeks ago I read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and loved it to bits. Someone (I think it was agentxpndble), mentioned the movie so I went ahead and ordered the dvd. I watched it a couple of nights ago - it stars Anthony Hopkins and er... Clare Bloom I think it was. It's a super film, even Hubby enjoyed it, well worth picking up if you see it cheap (or even not cheap).

Next read: Time to return to some gay fantasy I think, so it'll be Traitor's Moon by Lynn Flewelling - the third in her Nightrunner series.

Comments

Re: 84 Charing Cross Road, I've seen the film and it's wonderful! The late Anne Bancroft played the female lead. (Every time someone dies, whose acting I've enjoyed, I think illogically, "Now I won't ever be able to meet him/her, and say how much their work meant to me," as if it would have happened, if only they'd lived longer.)
The late Anne Bancroft played the female lead.

That's right... I had a feeling I had that wrong. Anyway, lovely, lovely film. And even though I knew there was going to be a death it still took me by surprise and brought a lump to my throat.
So glad the film version of '84' didn't disappoint.

Would you mind telling me why he loathed Zimbabwe and Ethiopia? Just curious... :)
Well, basically it wasn't the people's fault it was the political situations usually. Mugabe's mismanagement in Zimbabwe has created a nation of starving people, practically everyone he came across was hungry. Plus, it was dangerous for whites, he went to Mugabe's birthday rally or something and got thrown out by a heavy because he was white. Add to that the disaffection of the white population because they're having their farms taken away and he just couldn't wait to get out of the country. Ethiopia was another gov. f*** up with people starving again and openly abusing him in the streets because he was white. A very interesting read - an eye opener I suppose you would call it.
I figured that was it... sounds a bit grim.
A lot of it was grim and a lot was also very sad to read. But there was plenty he liked - Lesotho for instance. Apparently JRR Tolkien was born not far from there in SA and the author reckoned he'd used the mountainous country of Lesotho as inspiration for the mountains of Mordor. Interesting thought.
Loved 84..., book and film. Have you read her one where she does the tourist thing in New York? Called The Big Apple, or something similar. Sorry, I have a dreadful memory for book titles and such. Definitely worth a read though.
No, I haven't read that one. I wondered what else she'd written that was any good so will look into that. Thanks!

What're you reading at the moment?
I borrowed a book from the library years ago that had four of her novels in one. There was 84..., the New York one, plus two others that I'm beggared if I can remember anything about, other than that they were both really good. Honestly, I swear I have a permanent mental block on book titles...

Right now I'm back on Jim Butcher's 'Harry Dresden' series, since I just picked up no 7, so I'm revisiting the complete run. You'd probably love them, Harry is a wizard in modern Chicago. Sort of like Raymond Chandler with all manner of strange beasties and magic, and a very good sense of humour. Was reading Terry Jones' Who Killed Chaucer, which is magnificent as far as I've got with it - you can almost hear Terry narrating it - but it's a bit deep for bedtime reading :D I'll go back to it when I'm off work over xmas and have the time and state of mind to really get into it.
I'm not too good on book titles either. I have to keep a list of what I read during the year or I would never remember.

I'll look up the Harry Dresden series on Amazon in a mo. They sound interesting. Just what I need - a bigger tbr pile. ;-))))
I'll have to try and locate a copy of the DVD of 84. I loved the book and fairly recently read Q's Legacy http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/2235946
which is an equally great book.

I've just started the Dresden Files Spiral organised by gailcm, and have just read book 2, an interesting series - light relief!
Oh, Q's Legacy looks excellent. Hadn't heard of that one, so will keep an eye out for it.

The Dresden Files Spiral is new to me too. Will look that up later.

I'm in the middle of a travel book about Labrador, from the library.