Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two Books set in Africa

I seem to have moved from books about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to those set in Africa.  The first is The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah which takes place in 1944/45 in Mauritius.  An old man looks back on the war years when he was a young child totally oblivious to what was going on in the world around him.  He is born and spends his first seven years with his parents and two brothers in a small community surrounding a sugar cane plantation.  When tragedy strikes he and his parents move to a home in the forest and his father takes on a job as a prison guard.  When the boy delivers lunch to his father he discovers that the prison does not contain the criminals his father spoke of but Jewish refugees from Europe who have been diverted here by the British who were preventing their entry into Palestine.  After a severe beating by his father puts him in the prison hospital, the boy befriends and young Jewish boy eventually trying to free him from the prison with unhappy results.  As an old man he looks back with regret on this short-lived friendship that he never forgot and realizes how it opened his eyes to the wider world.  A very interesting read and, if based on fact, an angle on the Holocaust of which I was not aware.

The next book I read was Chai Tea Sunday by Heather Clark.  An admirable first novel by a marketing professional this book takes place in a small village in Kenya.  Nicky, the protagonist, separates from her husband after a tragedy they deal with in very different ways.  She heads to Kenya to work as a teacher's assistant in an orphanage and finds herself living with a wise local woman who dispenses advice over chai following Sunday services.  Nicky falls in love with the orphans who are happy with so little - just being loved transforms them.  In improving the lives of these children Nicky finds herself and eventually learns how to move on with her life.  This is a very well written easy read which I highly recommend.

No comments:

Post a Comment