In Dark Star Safari (2002), author Paul Theroux travels along Africa’s east coast from Egypt to South Africa, through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and other countries. Though he begins his trip full of hope, he discovers that life on Africa’s east coast, as seen here in 2002, is not what he remembered from his Peace Corps days. Then he had been a volunteer in Malawi and a teacher in Uganda, leaving the country just as Idi Amin came to power. Despite the political upheavals of the 1960′s, his memories of Africa during that time are good ones. In 2002, approaching his sixtieth birthday, he is determined to travel from Cairo to Cape Town, believing that the continent “contain[s] many untold tales and some hope and comedy and sweetness, too,” and that there is “more to Africa than misery and terror,” something he aims to discover as he “wander[s] the antique hinterland.”
Category Archive for 'Tanzania'
With Friendly Fire, A. B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s most honored contemporary novelists, creates a magnificent novel filled with real, flawed characters who come alive from the first page. The alternating narratives of Daniela Ya’ari, who is visiting her brother-in-law in Tanzania, and her husband Amotz Ya’ari, who remains behind in Tel Aviv, reveal their relationships to each other, their family, their culture, and ultimately their country. Daniela has been protected by Ya’ari (as he is usually identified) for her entire marriage, but she has traveled to Tanzania alone this time. Her older sister Shuli died two years before, while Shuli and her husband Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) were living in Tanzania, and Daniela, who has never really grieved, wants to come to terms with her death. Friendly Fire goes beyond Israeli and Jewish issues to touch on universal issues affecting all of humanity. Intensely realized, thoughtful, and stunning in its unique imagery and symbolism, this unusual novel deals with seemingly everyday issues, offering new insights into the human condition–life, love, and death–while fire serves throughout as a universal symbol of man’s humanity and his evolutionary differences from the rest of the animal world.
Focusing on the entire Leakey family, from Louis and Mary Leakey, who were the paleontologist parents of Richard Leakey, also a paleontologist, to Richard’s paleontologist wife Maeve and their daughter Louise, the third generation of Leakey researchers into the origins of human life. Morell’s astounding level of research reveals the Leakeys individually, as a family, as dogged searchers for the truth about man’s origins–and as living, breathing humans.
A finalist in 1994 for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award, Paradise hides major themes and ideas within the seemingly simple story of Yusuf, a twelve-year-old boy in rural East Africa whose father sells him to a trader to settle a debt. East Africa is in turmoil–on the verge of World War I and the fighting which eventually develops between the Germans in Tanzania and the British in Kenya. Cities are growing, populations are moving, merchants are trading and selling, and colonialists from many countries are vying for influence. A novel which begins as a beautifully realized coming-of-age story develops into a story of high adventure, social and political realism, and eventually love.
Illustrating, to some extent, the effects of colonialism, along with desertions and displacements in the characters’ lives in this three-part novel covering more than fifty years in Zanzibar/Tanzania, Gurnah concentrates primarily on stories of family, courtship, and relationships–ordinary people living their daily lives. Though the novel feels like three separate novellas, rather than a continuous whole, Gurnah’s style is smooth and descriptive, conjuring the moods and images of different times and fascinating places.