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An idealistic American girl is swept up in the passion of taking the written word to the African tribes of Kenya, and joins a mobile library scheme. We are introduced to each important character chapter by chapter. Simple stories unfold, some full of ancient lore, some full of longing, some with just contented people once happy with their lot, now bewildered. Initially I thought this had the easy charm of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana series but then it turned into something a great deal deeper as the argument for and against educating a semi-nomadic tribe and introducing them to Western ideas developed. It is an impressive tale, simply told and highly recommended.
Once a fortnight, the nomadic settlement of Madidima, set deep in the dusty Kenyan desert, awaits the arrival of three camels laden down with panniers of books. This is the Camel Bookmobile, a scheme set up to bring books to scattered tribes whose daily life is dominated by drought, famine and disease. Into their world comes an unexpected wealth of literature - from the adventures of Tom Sawyer to strange vegetarian cookbooks and Dr Seuss. Kanika, a young girl who lives with her grandmother, devours every book she can lay her hands on. Her best friend is Scar Boy, a child who was mauled at the age of three by a hyena. They are joined by Matani the village teacher, his alluring wife Jwahir and the drummaker Abayomi, as well as Mr Abasi, the camel driver, who is convinced that one of the camels is possessed by the spirit of his dead mother-in-law. The only condition of The Camel Bookmobile is that every book must be returned or else the visits will cease. Then one day a book is stolen...
'Hamilton vividly sketches the landscape of Africa the novel's greatest strength is in the way it puts forward a balanced argument about the significance of the written word, capturing its power to delight and liberate at the same time as acknowledging its limitations in a world where shelter and food are not certainties.' NEW STATESMAN
Publication date: 12/06/2008
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
|Publication date:||12th June 2008|
|Publisher:||Orion Publishing Co|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
Masha Hamilton worked as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press for five years in the Middle East, where she covered the intefadeh, the peace process and the partial Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Then she spent five years in Moscow, where she was a Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, wrote a newspaper column, "Postcard from Moscow," that ran in about 35 U.S. newspapers, and reported for NBC/Mutual Radio. She wrote about Kremlin politics as well as life for average Russians under Gorbachev and Yeltsin during the coup and collapse of the Soviet Union. She traveled to Afghanistan ...More About Masha Hamilton