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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book with an African setting
The Ghosts of Eden follows the lives of two children growing up in Uganda. Micheal is the child of missionaries and the book begins with him battling against claustrophobia on his first flight back to Uganda since he left to study medicine. He is finally distracted from his fear, when the passenger in the seat next to him dies.

Zachye lives in rural Uganda,...
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by Jackie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
This was recommended to me by a famous ghost writer - and I wasnt disappointed. A refreshing read, reminding me of life in East Africa,and an absorbing story of interaction between races. I read it almost in one go! Thankyou.
Published on 10 Jan 2011 by jlbwye


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book with an African setting, 15 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
The Ghosts of Eden follows the lives of two children growing up in Uganda. Micheal is the child of missionaries and the book begins with him battling against claustrophobia on his first flight back to Uganda since he left to study medicine. He is finally distracted from his fear, when the passenger in the seat next to him dies.

Zachye lives in rural Uganda, where he helps his brother, Stanley, look after the family's cattle. Zachye's father dreams of a better life for his sons, and so arranges for them to be sent to school. The book touches on how the introduction of technology to the country changes their lives. Their observations of new objects were fascinating to me, and I loved seeing them learn how to use things which we take for granted.

The first half of the book concentrates on the lives of the two very different boys growing up in East Africa, and is one of the best pieces of writing about life as a child I have seen. I was captivated by their innocent view of the world, and loved their childish banter. The author perfectly captures the minds of the two boys, and to be able to do this convincingly with two completely different cultures is an outstanding achievement.

The Ghosts of Eden also reveals much about the superstitions and spirit world of the African people. Although I have read a few books which have contained this subject before (most notably Ben Okri's The Famished Road) This is the first book in which I have been made to understand their belief system, and not just been confused by it.

Unfortunately, the book goes downhill a bit in the middle section. The lives of the boys as adults did not interest me anywhere near as much as that of their childhood. In fact, I didn't like either of them very much when they meet for the first time, and fall in love with the same woman. Luckily the plot held my attention, and the ending was good enough to make up for the minor lapse of the middle section.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read about African culture, without battling with symbolism or the endless horrors of war. It is a beautifully written story, and I think it has just become my favourite book with an African setting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys on the Edge, 22 Nov 2009
By 
Siobhan Logan (Leicester UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
This was one of my year's best summer reads: the kind of good thick book you can nestle into. It is a wonderfully lyrical novel set in Africa. The early sections depict two worlds that overlap in the lush landscape of colonial Uganda; the childhood of Stanley, an 8 year-old cattle-herder, and the childhood of Michael Lacey, son of missionaries.

There is a sense of each being a closed world vividly experienced - yet each is doomed by modernity pressing on its edges. The boys are both engaging heroes, similarly shy, loyal, deeply sensitive. For me the depiction of Bahima nomadic culture as the herd boys follow out the rituals of their daily lives was utterly enchanting and convincing. We see through their eyes the strangeness of Bazungu (European) behaviour as they encounter white people for the first time. We feel the jolt of that meeting and fear for them as they face exile from their own people with the prospect of boarding school.

The author, like his characters, then takes a rather brave step. We jump forward some 30 years to find Michael as an adult on a plane to Uganda for a 3 day conference. Another jolt. The adult is entirely disassociated from his past, the child's vulnerability buried in the clinical efficiency of a gifted surgeon (here Sharpe draws on his own experience as a medical practitioner.) Uganda is still raw from the trauma of Idi Amin's rule and its legacy. But the past griefs that threaten to engulf Michael take more time to surface. Inevitably, the paths of the Bahima and the Bazungu now cross.

It turns out this is very much Michael's story and I missed the chance to explore Stanley's point of view in this second half. I was too emotionally invested in the Bahima characters by then to want to see them only from the outside. But it is Michael who negotiates the minefields of cultural difference and personal loss and alienation. There are big themes here but always firmly grounded in this individual story. I'm glad the author resisted too neat a resolution but the rhythm of the novel is towards a much-needed redemption for Michael and his Bahima counterpart. Overall, this was a very satisfying read and an impressive debut for Sharp.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must read this, 24 May 2009
This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
I have just finished Andrew Sharp's debut book and I would summarize it as "As enchanting as Alexander McCall Smith, giving deep insights into the African mind, only much more complex, challenging and satisfying". I was moved to tears by this story which was especially significant to me, evoking memories of my colonial African childhood and having recently visited a Masai kraal. True to life is the phrase.

I was especially struck by the description of the evolution of faith from the childlike understanding of the young Michael to the much more realistic and battered dawning of understanding in the adult Michael at the end. Very gritty and very real - I would go so far as to liken it to William Young's The Shack - the other great book I have read recently.

I would thoroughly recommend this book - especially to Third Culture Kids and anyone else in love with Africa. I am looking forward to a sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghosts of Eden, 3 July 2009
By 
J. B. Beazley "Ben Beazley" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
My 'Best Africa Read'

In the early stages of the story, the reader is given a wonderfully intuitive journey through the looking glass into the East Africa of the 1950's - 60's, which is then set against the days of the harsh post - Idi Amin years. The world and it's values seen through the eyes of the two native brothers, Stanley, and Zachye, first as children and then men, contrast sharply with the European upbringing of Michael Lacey. Felice the woman who brings their cultures together also cleverly accentuates the divide between them.
Beautifully written,this is a story of ancient and immutable values in a land essentially immune to change, and reflects Andrew Sharp's impeccable credentials as an authority on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant descriptive talent, 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
As you read the childhood memories of two Ugandan boys and of Michael, a European born in Uganda, and then pass on to adult life when Michael, a surgeon now, returns to Uganda, you gain a deep insight into the many contrasts between the African and European ways of thinking through a multitude of interesting details.
The scenes are depicted with a sure hand. Throughout the book the precision and rich choice of words turns each scene into a delicately painted picture. You feel the touch of a keen observer possessing a gold throve of words to depict the story as it unfolds towards its surprising end when Michael reconnects with his childhood.

Peter & Claire
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 10 Jan 2011
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
This was recommended to me by a famous ghost writer - and I wasnt disappointed. A refreshing read, reminding me of life in East Africa,and an absorbing story of interaction between races. I read it almost in one go! Thankyou.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The ecological Eden of Uganda, 30 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
This novel is written from a white perspective; but one that obviously values the cultural beauty and wisdom of the African people. It seems to say: "If only we in the West who colonised this country could have observed and learnt to adopt some of the values of these people." I suggest this because, ecologically the way in which the Ugandans lived well into the 20th century was truly 'Eden'. Prehaps in remote areas the Ghost of Eden can still be found?
Please read this novel - it's well written, informative and an engaging story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ghosts of Eden, 9 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
This is great first novel from Andrew Sharp.
Initially set in Uganda in the 1960's we are treated to a fascinating insight into the childhoods of three very different children. The author brilliantly captures their social differences and the impact of religion and technology in changing established African beliefs and way of life.
A childhood that ends tragically, leaves the main character Michael facing his demons when choosing to re-visit his native Africa 20 years later.
Michael takes us on a journey of love ,sacrifice, terror and forgiveness with the author cleverly drawing out the differences between Western and African culture.
A very enjoyable book that gives us a real insight into not only Africa but so many emotions as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters, 20 Sep 2009
By 
T. Murfet (St Albans, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. Some great characters and some really good contrasts - between the african bush people and western people and between religious and non-religious people. A good story.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The ghosts of eden, 11 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Ghosts of Eden (Paperback)
I expected a factual book of Uganda, not a novel so was very disappointed think the novels should be kept separate from factual books to avoid confusion
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The Ghosts of Eden
The Ghosts of Eden by Andrew JH Sharp (Paperback - 21 May 2009)
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