- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 Feb. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 014014658X
- ISBN-13: 978-0140146585
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,201,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Brazzaville Beach Paperback – 25 Feb 1999
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"Utterly engaging. . . . A novel of ideas, of big themes. . . . William Boyd is a champion storyteller."--The New York Times Book Review
Utterly engaging. . . . A novel of ideas, of big themes. . . . William Boyd is a champion storyteller. --The New York Times Book Review" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
In the heart of a civil war torn African nation, primate researcher Hope Clearwater made a shocking discovery about apes and man. . . .
Young, alone, and far from her family in Britain, Hope Clearwater contemplates the extraordinary events that left her washed up like driftwood on Brazzaville Beach. It is here, on the distant, lonely outskirts of Africa, where she must come to terms with the perplexing and troubling circumstances of her recent past. For Hope is a survivor of the devastating cruelties of apes and humans alike. And to move forward, she must first grasp some hard and elusive truths: about marriage and madness, about the greed and savagery of charlatan science, and about what compels seemingly benign creatures to kill for pleasure alone." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's difficult to write about this book and do it proper justice. So much of it is about Hope's internal struggles about her life, and the difficulties of being married to someone who is greatly flawed. She makes a good feminist character, strong but not pushy, intelligent but not snobby, often conflicted about what the best course of action is, and sometimes mistaken. Her struggle for respect in both the personal and professional realms is at the heart of the book, and is a theme with wide resonance. It's one of the best cases of a man writing in a woman's voice I can recollect. All the characters that surround Hope, even the most insignificant, are carefully crafted and rich in texture.Read more ›
The book follows the life of ecologist Hope Clearwater and is simultaneously set at three different stages in her recent life - her marriage to an egg-head boffin mathematician whilst she studies ancient hedgerows, her time studying chimpanzees in a major African ecological project and finally her life 'on the beach' reviewing her life.
Interspersed between these three layers are occasional insights into the world of higher mathematics.
If that sounds confusing be assured that it isn't. I found this a fascinating read and was most surprised that the author managed to keep the links between all layers running so smoothly without causing confusion.
The mental breakdown of her husband and her relationship with him, finds numerous parallels in the breakdown of relationships between the two rival tribes of chimps. In all cases Hope is battling against others who don't respect her work or, in the case of the head of the chimp project, are actively seeking to discredit her findings.
The characters are beautifully portrayed especially her husband who finds solace and inspiration digging ditches in unlikely places, her lover who builds horsefly aeroplanes (well worth the read for that alone) and the 'rebel leader' and his band of volleyball playing 'soldiers' who inadvertently kidnap Hope (and find it quite difficult to get rid of her).
I recommend this highly
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Atmospheric, whether in UK or Africa. Compelling because author addresses the fundamental human emotions, motivations, interactions and experiences that drive live and shape us. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Mathematica
If you are into maths, chimp behaviour and dating the age of hedgerows this is the book for you. I have enjoyed several of William Boyd's novels but found this tedious in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by custard
Yes,I liked this one.Totally believable and sympathetic characters and a decent plot.Ever so well written.Published 10 months ago by henrymiller
The book has arrived promptly, safely and is exactly what I wanted. Much appreciated. Thank you, James.Published 11 months ago by James