When a friend on facebook recommended this book, I was curious but not compelled to read it. I'm more of a Victorian Lit girl myself, not usually stirred by literature of this age, which tends to be written in small, desperate terms in direct correlation with our culture that demands everything--tweets, news, blogs, and even books--to be written in bite-sized portions fresh from the microwave. No more is the richly dense language used by Eliot, Stevenson, Bronte, James, and the like. But hey, I digress.
Well, I picked up the book at my library because it was about Zimbabwe, and my very first foreign pen-pal was from Zimbabwe. Strange and weak reasoning for taking the contemporary literature plunge, but there it is.
Nearly from the start, I loved this book:
It's part history, especially for those of us in America who weren't really old enough to know or understand what happened in Zimbabwe in the late 70's and early 80's nor now wise enough to dig deeper into what has been happening in Zimbabwe for nearly a decade.
It's part travel journal, describing with picturesque detail the changing landscape and people of Zimbabwe and its near neighbors. I swear I still taste dust between my teeth.
It's part biography, tender and thoughtful and gritty. The author paints such authentic portraits of his characters that one feels as if they become one's own family and friends, so much so that many readers have since visited the author's parents' home, seeking to visually and physically connect with those with whom they've intimately been acquainted for perhaps a fortnight and to whom they've aligned themselves in survival's passionate and oft heroic struggle. How do I know this? Well, I went to his website found here, because I too fell glad prey to the lure of photographs, audio, VIDEO, and more. Like I said: family, friends.
Yes, I'm wholly glad I opened this book and so very reluctant to close it.
Perhaps I'll truly see Zimbabwe one day; but if not, I feel like I already have.