Monday, October 12, 2009

"The Africa House" by Christina Lamb

I was so proud of myself. I was about to save a copy of the image for this post to my hard drive so I could upload it to the blog, and then I could hit Publish Post and I would have a blog all posted and ready.

Then, my web browser crashed.

Why, Google Chrome? Why???

So, let's start again, shall we?

I just finished rereading The Africa House by Christina Lamb.

Why did I reread it? Because it's a good book, obviously. Also, I had just finished reading The Bolter about the scandalous Idina Sackville, and I thought - mistakenly - that TAF also took place in Kenya.

I was wrong. The Africa House takes place in Zambia. Oops.

Regardless, I enjoyed rereading TAF because it's so fascinating and beautifully written. It follows the life of Stewart Gore-Browne, your typical stiff-upper-lip Englishman with a bowler hat, monocle and cane, who decides to start a plantation in Africa so he can spirit away his lovely aunt there to live with him.

Yup, pretty typical of the British.

Did I mention he also campaigned for self-governance of the British colony and helped it gain its independence? No? Well, there, then, I just did.

He was the only white man ever to receive both a chief's burial and a state funeral, and the first white man to abandon his British citizenship for Zambian citizenship when the country became independent.

He married a woman half his age (although that didn't last forever) and had two daughters by her. She also happened to be the daughter of his first girlfriend, who married someone else.

So essentially Stewart Gore-Browne was good with nation-building, bad with romantic decisions.

I'm going to chalk that up to repressive boarding schools.

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