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Yocheved

Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.

Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

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  • Dark Star Safari

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Paul Theroux
    • Narrated By Norman Dietz
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (58)

    Forty years ago, Paul Theroux first went to Africa as a teacher in the Malawi bush. Now, nearing 60, he returns to travel by train, canoe, bus, and cattle truck from one end of Africa to the other. From Cairo to Cape Town, what he finds is recorded in the style that has stamped Theroux as a master of the travelogue. His curiosity and intelligent observations help create an unforgettable portrait of the varied land that is Africa today.

    karen says: "One of the best"
    "One of the best"
    Overall

    This book -- and recording -- succeeds on so many levels it's hard to know where to start. If you like Bill Bryson, you'll love this one, too.

    First of all, it's a captivating listen, so compelling it's almost impossible to find a place to stop.

    Beyond that, it offers one man's view of Africa, and African history, beginning in Egypt all the way through South Africa. For much of the contemporary story of Africa, Thoreau writes about the 'Agents of Virtue' -- foreign missionaries and charities -- who have been "serving" in Africa for hundreds of years, with apparently no success whatever. His ridicule of these do-gooders -- who seem to drive around in white vans and do little more than perpetuate their own positions -- is both funny and well presented. Why, indeed, has Africa been the subject of charity for so many hundreds or years? Thoreau's argument makes perfect sense to me.

    It's also a great literary read -- I loved the comparisons to Dicken's "Mrs. Jellybe", to Twain's 'Innocents Abroad' and to other works about Africa. It was fun hearing him tell about his own other books on Africa, and how they were received by Africans.

    But maybe the best part of all is the sheer pleasure of the audicious story itself -- how this not-young man hitched rides in cattle trucks, rattle-trap buses, slept on the ground, avoided snakes, ate what they ate, wore clothes from the charity piles, all to fit in, to get the real feeling of Africa.

    This is a book I will listen to again and again --If you've read this far, you've gotta buy this book. It's one of the best. Absolutely unforgettable.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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