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The Weather in Africa Paperback – 18 Sep 2006
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An authentic sense of the divorce between Africa and what Europeans carry in their heads. -- Robert Nye, The Guardian
Brilliantly told and so atmospheric. -- Sharon Griffiths, The Northern Echo
I think anyone who picks up this book is certainly not going to put it down again. -- Francis King, Kaleidoscope, BBC Radio 4
This is a pungent and witty book. -- Jeremy Brooks, The Sunday Times
This is a stunningly good book. -- Victoria Glendinning, The New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
There was much talk when Jane and Mary Ann Jenkins came home to Mount Kilimanjaro. Mary Ann had been gone for only two years in an American city no one ever heard of, called Cleveland; but Jane was away for twelve long years, cutting a swathe in Europe, so the locals understood. Gone into the wide world, far from this mountain, to make their fortunes, and returned to the ancestral hotel with no fortune and unmarried, both of them.
All the Europeans knew the Jenkins family and all had something to say about the surprise reappearance of the Jenkins daughters. In Moshi, they talked at the hotel bar, the post office, the best general store, the petrol station, the bank; up and down the mountain, they talked in the farmers homes when the ladies had a bridge afternoon, at Sunday lunch parties, in matrimonial beds. Henry McIntyre, whod farmed coffee on Kilimanjaro longer than living memory, delivered the majority verdict: Those poor gormless girls have made a proper balls of it.
His wife said, Girls? lifting her eyebrows.
Jane was thirty-two and Mary Ann thirty.
Everybody sensed defeat, the end of great expectations. Bob and Dorothy Jenkins, the parents were overjoyed. They had no idea that people were talking about their children.
All the resident Europeans found a chance to take a good look at the prodigal daughters. Everyone was curious about the changes wrought by time and absence. Jane had been a dewy English rose, with golden hair and big blue eyes, spoiled rotten by her parents. The dew had definitely dried off, which gave satisfaction; Jane had been too fond of herself, too pleased with her appearance, though no one could say she was by any means a hag now. Mary Ann looked pretty much the same. She didnt look like her parents, any more than Jane did. Jane the beauty. Mary Ann, officially the homely one. Mary Ann was all shades of brown and average features. Jane had the tall lean elegant body of a fashion model; Mary Ann was short, with a bosom and waist and hips. No man thereabouts had ever laid a hand on either of them. It had always been an unspoken sour assumption that the Jenkins girls were waiting for a better bet: Kilimanjaro and environs were not good enough for them. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
An attractively presented collection, with an Afterword by Caroline Moorehead (Gellhorn's biographer) these poignant and sobering stories are all, to varying levels, pervaded by a sense of loss. The author (who had her own house built near Nairobi) writes with affection for the East African landscape, and although the sense of Africa is not particularly strong in the first two stories in the collection, the dramatic landscape is beautifully and effectively portrayed in the third and most substantial of the novellas. Whilst Martha Gellhorn's fiction may not be in the same class as her non-fiction work, I was entertained by these novellas, reading all three, one after the other, and would be happy to read further examples of the author's fiction writing.