A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa

by Nicholas Drayson (Penguin) ISBN 9780670920099

 

This story recaptures the mood of the 1940s and '50s in Kenya.

 

Each chapter begins with a clever quote about animals depicting the meaning behind that chapter. Mr Malik, the main character, is a member of the Ashoi Club - originally a hundred-year-old gentlemen's club. Mr Malik and his friends meet there for billiards, most social events, and important debates about the unsolved murder of Lord Erroll.

 

We are taken on an old-style safari with large tents and a cook. The author describes the animals and countryside in a picturesque and humorous manner. He depicts the characters in the story as refined gentlemen with good old-fashioned manners, while he exposes the hypocrisy of the men in government. Everyone seems so polite - but they are really tongue-in-cheek.

 

After some mysterious happenings, Mr Malik feels he must move with the times: the old will be replaced by the new...or will it?

 

A Guide to the Beasts of East Africa is a charming story that is well-written and refreshing in today's harsh world.

 

Dawn Blankfield

3/5

 

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