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Sometimes a book that supposedly inhabits a certain genre breaks away and becomes literature. That is true of this book, which unveils an entire universe practically unknown to most of its readers: Botswana and Africa. This is a horizon-widening book, and to call it detective fiction is like referring similarly to Crime and Punishment. When describing it, one is tempted to describe it as hilarious, and it certainly has many hilarious aspects, but it also has moments of sadness and empathy, sometimes with the perpetrator of a crime. The love of Africa is another element that shines forth. The narrator seemed to me to be the Merryl Streep of naration, rendering accents with a musical, dead-on, laconic precision compared to the way I thought they should sound. I don't have time to finish this review, unfortunately -- I'm busy listening to The Tears of the Giraffe, the next in the series...
52 of 53 people found this review helpful
i have to admit that i purchased this novel thinking i would be getting a detective story along the lines of sherlock holmes or agatha christie. but this book is so much more than a detective story. it is a story of love and africa, the kalahari sun and simplicity, the joys and heartaches of a family, and the triumphs of the human spirit.
the narrator is poignant and articulate and communicates very effectively the simplicity and unburdened hearts of her characters. her accents are impeccable and the listener can almost feel the sun on their brow and the dry wind at their back. a narrator can make or break a title, and i can't imagine reading this title as a book - the narrator brings out so many nuances that i would have missed simply with the written word. her efficacy ranks up there with the narrator of <i>life of pi</i> and <i>why we buy</i>.
i was also surprised that, as character-driven as this book is, i held my attention through to the very end. the author is very skilled at offering little details and background settings that intrigue the listener and cause one to want to push further and discover if these little details are going to be important later on. rarely was i disappointed. the book fits together like a difficult jigsaw puzzle: many pieces that somehow make a beautiful picture once that last piece is filled in. even more beautiful is that the pieces are so often portraits of the heart of the author's intimately crafted characters.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful