DNF: Three Weeks in December by Audrey Schulman

First off, is this not a beautiful cover?

Don’t you want this to be a terrific book?  With a cover like this?

It wasn’t the book, it was me.

Most likely.

The books two narratives are well told, it’s two lead characters interesting and three-dimensional.  I just felt I had been down this road before.

In one, an 19th century American engineer has been hired by the British government in Africa to build a section of railroad in what will become Tanzania.  He is the sole white man in a rugged savannah landscape ridden by drought and pestilence and a couple of lions unafraid to attack men. The note at the start of the novel states that the lions are based on historical fact.

In the other plot,  a 20th century ethnobotonist with Aspergers is hired by a pharmaceutical company to search the mountains of Rwanda for a vine that holds promise as a medical treatment.  She is mixed race. He is white.

I guess I’m tired of stories about Africa centered on people from America.  I’m not that interested in the 19th colonization plot, nor its 20th century pharmaceutical equivalent.  These are both serious issues, worthy of novels, just not something I’m interested in anymore.  These days Africans can tell their story.  I think it the exact same story were written from their point of view it would have held my interest longer than the 130 pages I read.

Still, I’m keeping the book since I’ve been collecting these beautiful Europa Editions covers for several years now. I may read the rest of the book someday, when I’m in a more receptive mood.  It was good.

Like I said; it wasn’t the book, it was me.

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2 Comments

  1. Jeane says:

    I have heard of those lions that were notorious for killing men working on the railroad. Wasn’t it in Tsavo? I’ve been meaning to read several books about them (not this one).

  2. Those are the lions. 100+ page in, and they hadn’t shown up yet. This is a good book, as I said. Just not at all for me at this time.

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