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Geldof In Africa Paperback – 1 Jun 2006
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"'An entrancing book - reflective, insightful and angry where appropriate'" (Time Out)
"'It's shocking. I didn't expect, or want, to have to say this - but it's shocking because it's brilliant. Often spluttering with fury. And incredulous horror. But just as often, Bob is very, very funny.'" (Evening Standard)
"'Extremely well written and often remarkable'" (Sunday Times)
"'Geldof is a superb guide to this most generalised about, and least understood continent, negotiating a fine balance between well-informed passion and instinctively sardonic humour. Excellent'" (Guardian)
"'Brilliant. He has managed to reach into the soul of the Luminous Continent, and it has taken possession of him'" (Evening Standard)
'Brilliant. Spluttering with fury ... and incredulous horror. Just as often, very, very funny - Evening StandardSee all Product description
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It was an amazing surprise.
If you're sceptical of Geldof, or if you think a Rock star can't write prose, think again.
Geldof writes amazingly, capturing the spirit of the places he visits like some of the best Africa writers. Curiously, his prose is as emotive as Forna, Hartley, Gourevitch, Hanley or any of the other rare authors who capture the raw sense of belonging. He captures the smells, sights and sounds and writes like a man who needs to be in Africa to feel alive.
If you're one of the people who knows what I mean - get the book. In particular get the book because nobody else gets Ethiopia as well as Bob. (Well...Hancock's Sign and the Seal is good to read as you travel around Ethiopia but...).
The book is an absolute pleasure to read and makes a lot of sense. Geldof isn't constrained by political correctness or afro-apologism but is far from a pessimist. He sees the solutions to problems as simply as many of the average people he talks to - and that is uplifting.
Few authors could marry intellectual discourse, storytelling and emotional wandering as well as Geldof does here.
One downside - it does leave one wishing that Geldof could concentrate on one subject for more than a handful of pages because it's good stuff and just as you think you're tucking into a tasty dish...he's on to the next course.
Whilst you're at it, buy the hardcover - the pictures are as good as the text and it's dirt cheap for what it is. Meanwhile, I will be buying shares in Lalibela and Arouane Tour Companies cos once you see the pics, you'll want to go.
We were hooked. We'd Bob a bit, and then listen to some music, then do some more Bobbing, as she called it. The enormous range, the passion with which he delivers statistics and stories and pithy insights, the remarkable absence of self-aggrandisement (apart from the rather slimy tributes to rock stars right at the end of the last disc), even the bits of excess purple - focking fungal, foetid smells... - where we could do with a few fewer adjectives. Who cares. He delivers information and personal experience and insight and broadened both our views of what Africa is, does, feels like, smells like.
I tried it on the teenagers who came to stay too, including my daughter. 'Oh God, not bloody Bob Geldof, I can't stand him' they shrieked, one and all. But I was driving, so I got to chose. And they caved in and got sucked in and couldn't stop listening. Although we did all agree that the richer excesses invite a Bobetition to see who can outBob him. So we are starting one.
I recommend this from my heart. If you want to get Africa, get this audiobook.
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