African Me and Satellite TV has been on my kindle for ages, but was late getting on my TBR. Even so, it easily qualifies for my Mount TBR Challenge. I was originally going to do today as a double review, but decided this deserved a post all of its own. I’ve scheduled several extra review posts between Christmas and New Year to help catch up before 2021 arrives.
by Jo Robinson
Suzette manages very well to live her life without actually taking part in it. She avoids any possibility of pain by very carefully ignoring reality. Until something happens. Something so terrible, that she has no choice but to stand up and be heard. And an unexpected hero changes everything. [goodreads]
I wanted to read this book originally because it promised to help me understand modern Africa. I am biased, from my father’s travels in the 1930s and my aunts’ and cousins’ tales of the progression since then. So when the first 20% or so reaffirmed my disgust at the white settler mentality, although not quite understanding the role of the staff, who were not really servants in the old-fashioned sense, I was uncertain whether to continue.
Then I became intrigued with Suzette’s situation, and her discovery of some of her old paintings, half-finished, in her old study. Realising that the face she was painting triggered her profound depression, she tries to come to terms with her situation. And then one of the local organisers asks her to do a talk about careers in art. She can’t do it. She hates public speaking… but the arrival of two absolute apologies for human beings arrive, full of hate for the blacks and what they perceive the freedom fighters have done to wreck their comfortable, rich lives.
The whole book explodes into life. The writing is rich and glorious. The characters are beautifully drawn, and pictures flood my mind. Then it becomes a thriller, and a tragedy, and then a history lesson in the most beautifully unfolded way. And they don’t all live happily ever after. But they live in hope, as we should too.
It’s a simple book with a complicated message, which it has to be to help a reader make sense of African history and current affairs. I usually place my Goodreads reviews in shelves to help me check the genres. This one simply said ‘read’ until I hit on the right shelf for it – epic.
It’s not a long book, though. From my uncertain 43% I finished it in one go. Un-put-down-able.African Me & Satellite TV: vibrant, brilliant, and heart-wrenching, what Africa is all about. Not easy to classify, but I gave it 5 stars. @JoRobinson176 #Africa #5starreads Click To Tweet