Customer Reviews


47 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Imperfect but Hilarious Man
Morgan Leafy works for the Deputy High Commissioner Fanshawe in Nkongsamba, capital of the mid-west region of the Western African country of Kinjama. When we meet Leafy, he is festering with rage - hatred for the hot, humid, dead-end place he has been posted to for the last few years, simmering resentment for his junior colleague Dickie Dalmire, a thoroughly pleasant...
Published on 3 Jun 2007 by Leyla Sanai

versus
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frothy fun
I feel a bit guilty only giving this three stars. I think the problem is that the first William Boyd book I read was Any Human Heart which ranks among the most powerful, moving and well-constructed books I have ever come across. Consequently I guess, his other works are always going to struggle by comparison. Perhaps if I had read this, Boyd's first work written in 1981,...
Published on 25 Nov 2011 by Alexis Paladin


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Imperfect but Hilarious Man, 3 Jun 2007
By 
Leyla Sanai "leyla" (glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
Morgan Leafy works for the Deputy High Commissioner Fanshawe in Nkongsamba, capital of the mid-west region of the Western African country of Kinjama. When we meet Leafy, he is festering with rage - hatred for the hot, humid, dead-end place he has been posted to for the last few years, simmering resentment for his junior colleague Dickie Dalmire, a thoroughly pleasant plummy Ox/bridge graduate who has swanned in and impressed both Fanshawe and his daughter Priscilla on whom Leafy had designs, and impotent teeth-grinding fury at the dour Scottish university doctor Murray whose dry professionalism thwarts Leafy's sense of entitlement and attempts to slide under various official gates. Leafy is a hilarious character, as funny in his boiling, exploding fury as Basil Fawlty. He is selfish, jealous and covetous yet he is a fascinating character. The book is far more light-hearted and unamibitious than Boyd's later novels but the familiar Boyd wit and eloquence and strong, vivid characterisation are evident, making this a riotously funny comedy of errors pitched halfway between the sharp, innocent drolery of PG Wodehouse and the more lecherous romping laughs of Kingsley Amis. Unlike Kingsley's protagonists, though, the reader gets the impression that Boyd recognises the faults of his hero and doesn't condone them. Intriguingly, Boyd has said that the crisp man of few words characterisation of Murray was based on Boyd's father, who was also a doctor in Africa.

A great light read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grimly comic, desperately ironic, 29 Aug 2007
By 
Brian Levine - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
Morgan Leafy is the overweight and morally questionable first secretary of the British High Commission who suffers from an interminable lack of self-esteem which manifests in himself allowing others to manipulate him until the point when he cracks...

The comedy is wince-making because it is more at Morgan's expense, generally, than any other's, and it is a cynical satirical look at the mess of Africa from the perspective of someone who is paid to understand it but really doesn't have a clue. Bribery, corruption, cuckolding, gonhorrea and pidgeon English meld the story into a tour-de-force of little-mindedness and cowardice, stiff-upper-lipped sacrifice and closed-minded stupidity.

It's just wonderful!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good picture of life in an African "colony", 24 Jan 2000
By 
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
The book gives a perfect idea of how life could be for an "expat" in Africa who isn't too happy to be where he is and can't adapt to the place. It is ironic, and well written. I had fun while reading it and I could feel the atmosphere of the places Boyd describes in the novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 7 Jan 2011
By 
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
I loved this book. I loved the main character, Morgan Leafy, with all his imperfections, uselessness, black moods...but I think, after all, deep down Morgan is a good man. And as you go by reading the book you realize where all his bitterness comes from: coming from a working class family doesn't certainly help in the snobbish environment of the British diplomatic world of the seventies of last century. The description of the Britons living in Africa are is also very funny and, I suspect, worryingly accurate since the author was born in Africa from British parents and must know that sort of environment pretty well. The ending is highly dramatic and just adds to the merits of this book. I loved this novel and will never tire of recommending it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the more you read the better it gets, 3 May 2008
By 
H. Lacroix (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
At first I thought I wouldn't enjoy this book, most of the characters being really hard to like, from the main protagonist Morgan, inefficient, jealous, often mean-minded, to his arrogant, overbearing and pompous boss Fanshawe. And then , Boyd weaves his magic. He makes us understand how Morgan became the way he is, we share all the disappointments that made him bitter and sarcastic...And, I have to admit, the people he portrays are a lot more like real life than selfless heroes and put upon heroins who suffer with great calm and endurance.Each of us can see some of their flaws mirrored in some character and though that might not make comfortable reading it is quite salutary to remind ourselves how mean-spirited,selfish and conniving we can be.
And the comedy is really entertaining so, a complete change of heart from the moment I started on the first pages. By the time I reached the end, I was sorry to let it go...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wept with laughter at Boyd's tale of life in Kinjanja, 18 April 2001
By A Customer
Boyd's first novel conjures up life in Africa in a hellhole of a diplomatic posting, with all the expertise of an accomplished Juju man - Boyd was described to me as a magic mix of Rider Haggard and Auberon Waugh. I wondered if I would fulfill my longheld ambition to die of laughter. Boyd has written a masterpiece which evokes Africa, its politicians, its western diplomats struggling to understand what can never be understood, all in a souffle of heat-induced lust amidst an Old Testament collection of servants. Priceless tonic of wild humour for the soul!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel, 13 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
Initially I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book - it began to resemble a Tom Sharpe novel, however the comic situations were entirely more plausible and I defy anyone not to identify with the frustrations and indignities of being a subordinate and having to sort out someone else's problems. Morgan Leafy is a brilliant creation - an anti-hero who wins the reader's heart and sympathy. I look forward to reading more of William Boyd's work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frothy fun, 25 Nov 2011
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
I feel a bit guilty only giving this three stars. I think the problem is that the first William Boyd book I read was Any Human Heart which ranks among the most powerful, moving and well-constructed books I have ever come across. Consequently I guess, his other works are always going to struggle by comparison. Perhaps if I had read this, Boyd's first work written in 1981, first, I would have appreciated it rather more. In fairness to him there are not many writers around today with the versatility to turn their hand to serious literary studies of the human condition such as Any Human Heart, fast paced thrillers like Restless and light, knockabout quintessentially English comedies such as this. As other reviewers have said if books by writers like Tom Sharpe and Kingsley Amis about upper-class English society and mores featuring put-upon, affable twits float your boat then you will probably enjoy this too. In Morgan Leafy Boyd gives us an inconsequential, thoroughly second-rate diplomat who is not particularly endearing but who will almost certainly make you chuckle as he blusters his way through petty political crises and compromising sexual situations galore. Just don't expect any meaningful revelations about the psyche of the isolated diplomat or even any exploration of the ambiguities of late 20th-century colonialism, because you won't get them. Fun but ultimately forgettable. Sorry William.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent, 4 Dec 2003
By 
James (Northamptonshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Good Man in Africa (Paperback)
I read this after watching then reading 'Armadillo'. 'A good man in africa' is a hilarious book, but it is also intellectual too. Some of Morgan Leafy's outrageous situations are barely believable, but this endears him more to the reader. Another thing I like about Boyd novels, having read three, is the cool names he invents for characters. I would recommend this to anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cary on Africa, 3 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a carry on Africa with some good authentic Africa parts lots of slapstick it was not what I expected .
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

A Good Man in Africa
A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd (Paperback - 25 Feb 1982)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews