Tales of African morality . . . from African ex-patriates
Somewhere I read that the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency stories are about African morality. ‘Traditionally built” Patience Ramotswe solves every case, not only with patient detection but in a spirit of kindness and fairness. Through each story, we are reminded of what is “good and true, better and possible”.
This weekend I read David Bennun’s 2004 book Tick Bite Fever. The book is widely praised for its humor and “mordant wit”.
I often avoid books written by wazungu (white Africans). They often make me wince. I found Tick Bite Fever refreshing. It is funny. Maybe the wit is mordant. I found it kind. I found it humble. I found it connected. Could it be said that Tick Bite Fever is also an example of African morality where each situation is played out, not by heroes, but in a muddle that is resolved by restoring the dignity of everyone involved? Can I hold my breath that there is style of literature emerging from African expatriates that is gracious and proportioned?
But even if you don’t want to think too hard, it is a good read. If you are from that part of the world, you will recognize the lifestyle and laugh. If you like wit, you will enjoy the keen phrase. If you need a gentle book for curling up on a wet British weekend, this is it. Tick Bite Fever. Not feverish at all. A mellow read.
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