My Father's House, Matthew Carr,
This review is from: My Father's House: In Search of a Lost Past (Kindle Edition)
My Father's House was an enjoyable and informative read from start to finish. It is partly a travel narrative, partly a biography of Matthew Carr's wayward father William Carr, and partly a discussion and portrait of the turbulent South American ex-colony Guyana. The narrative weaves together letters and artefacts from Bill Carr's scandalous life with vivid descriptions of Matthew Carr's trip to Guyana, on which he sought memories of his father, a complex and contradictory character. The author remembers his dad as a violent alcoholic, but faced with dramatically different representations, he is forced to reconsider the man he thought he knew, reflecting on the nature of memory and subjectivity along the way.
I knew very little about Guyana before opening this book; I probably couldn't have placed it on a world map. Now, I feel I've been on an enjoyable crash-course in Guyanese history and politics. Guyana is in a unique predicament; all of its main parties claim to be Marxist-Leninist, yet progress is hampered by corruption and poverty. As former colonisers of Guyana, whose older generations benefited from its colonisation, we in the UK really should familiarise ourselves with Guyana and the effect Europe had on its development. My Father's House is a great place to start.
My Father's House is perfectly paced, well-written and insightful, and it covers so many bases that there really aren't many people who wouldn't enjoy it.