Border Press Books will launch the book this month, and readers will be delighted with a wonderful collection of vignettes that I think are reminiscent of the description and characterizations in essays by D. H. Lawrence in Mornings in Mexico and the people and landscapes depicted in Alexander McCall Smith's novels set in Botswana.
"a country burning down...billowing smoke, tongues of flame, and the blackened scorched earth [making] it appear that the whole countryside was on fire...I later learned that Malawians have a practice of burning off the stubble from their fields in preparation for the next planting of corn. The sugarcane farmers do the same thing in Louisiana, but I remember it as a more controlled exercise..."
"The pigeons captured the essence of brief periods of repose at day's end. Their soaring flight home every evening meant that I was home too. I had made a home of a rented house, tacky government-issue furniture, a flock of village pigeons, and a servant and his family. The sense of being at home that I felt during those evenings on the khande was an unexpected blessing. I never experienced it again in Africa..."
"a pure, cold green, the color of the inside of a kiwi. I was seized by the moment and could not take my eyes away. My memory, uninvited, supplied an image—"From Greenland's Icy Mountains," a line I learned as a child from a pompous and condescending Anglican mission hymn I had not thought of in decades...that color, which I can still recall, came to stand for the mystery of Africa and the mystery of my life that had brought me to this beautiful and terrible place..."