Here I am yesterday about to enjoy the $10 roast lamb at Wollongong Hellenic Club.
Note the book.
I really didn’t know what to expect. I am not all that fond of present tense narration or of a style featuring lots of really short sentences, and this has both. It also has a teenage female narrative viewpoint. And Michael Arditti is rather dismissive in his Daily Mail review.
In a series of honest but tediously repetitive episodes, the protagonist, Samantha, describes her aimless, pleasure-seeking life, her relationships with her violent father (a former SAS officer turned mercenary), her inadequate mother and supportive sister, and her classmates, in particular the boys, whom she alternately titillates and despises…
Despite the detailed Tanzanian setting (the most successful element of the novel), Exile resembles nothing more than a hardcore version of an American high school rom-com, with drug-fuelled orgies replacing drugstores and the Prom.
I find myself rather more enthralled.
Synopsis: Samantha has lived in Tanzania since she was three years old. Her parents run an exclusive travel lodge and are too absorbed by their own affairs to pay much attention to their daughter. The mother sips expat gin and tonics under the midday sun; the father, a former S.A.S. officer turned mercenary, busies himself with dead end coup d’etats and clandestine love affairs with local women. Samantha learns quickly that affection comes at a premium, at a price she is always willing to pay, however shallow and transitory the experience, however hollow the love on offer. Before long, her reputation precedes her, losing her friends as quickly as it gains her admirers amongst the town’s less savoury elements, for whom consent is barely an afterthought. When Samantha meets Victor, middle-aged and, like her father, a mercenary, she falls for him instantly, persuading herself that his love will finally free her from her past. But Victor is already married, and she is not the first young girl to catch his wandering eye. Exile is the first part of a powerful and gritty trilogy that explores the listless, self-destructive lives of rootless, European ex-pats, laying bare intractable post-colonial tensions and capturing effortlessly the tragic beauty of a continent run into the ground and sinking into the mire.
Source: Lauren Murphy
Lauren Murphy loves it.
Despite the matter-of-fact storytelling it did evoke emotion in me as I followed Sam through her emotional ups and downs. I was completely taken by surprise for the ending, but it certainly fit with the path that Sam had taken throughout the novel. Exile is a very dark and cynical story so if you want a story where everyone lives happily ever after then this is not the story for you!
I can’t wait for the sequels to be released, Revolution in 2012 and Liberty in 2013. It’s a shame the author died before seeing this trilogy in print.
I haven’t quite reached the end yet, but I am sure giving the book so far.
See also Slightly Read.
It is a book that reeks of urgency, in all kinds of ways.There is a rawness and a panic to nearly all of Samantha’s actions, and there is a scathing honesty and simplicity to the words that describe them. Ejersbo – a Danish writer whose depiction of a Tanzania as rife with poverty and corruption as it was in my day, as it is today, was informed by his own time living there – died of cancer in 2008 and seems to have spent his final months ensuring his trilogy was completed before he succumbed to the disease. If the other parts of the trilogy are as compelling and affecting as this one then he’ll have left a notable legacy.
On the writer see Jakob Ejersbo 1968 – 2008.
I am also enjoying what I am learning about life in Tanzania through the novel, and even if, I imagine, the folk at the International School in Moshi might not totally enjoy the portrait Ejersbo paints it has had the effect of interesting me in the place.
The Class of 2013 at The International School, Moshi, Tanzania
And now the possible dying of my Kobo. Yesterday when it was hooked up to my computer, as it is when adding books or recharging, it decided to update itself. Ever since the battery has shown signs of not to distant death, not holding its charge for nearly as long as it normally used to. There are also some ominous hints on this user site.
This product lasted 15 months, then battery stopped charging altogether, all kobo could advise me was it was sorry it is out of warranty. Did i wish to purchase a new one from them online. The unit was very slow to use would continually drop out from the page i was reading.
battery stopped recharging, very slow and cumbersome to use
I am recharging the Kobo right now. Let’s see if the charge lasts this time around. And yes, I have done all the things Kobo recommends to prolong battery life. But rereading my post I fear I am an eReader convert I see my Kobo is also 15 months old! The battery in the Kobo is embedded and cannot be replaced. Built-in obsolescence? Very likely.
As a precaution I am making sure later on that my eBook library is up-to-date on Baby HP where I can read via Calibre.
But real books don’t need batteries or screens of course.