Top positive review
A compelling history lesson through fictional eyes.
Reviewed in Australia on 14 May 2020
Much has been written about this novel in the 20+ years since it was first published (check the internet) and much has not been learned. (Read history.)
The book is a condemnation of American foreign, political, social, and economic power, and religious bigotry as exercised in Africa as it competed for influence against the USSR. In that competition and the resulting corruption, the biggest losers were the African inhabitants whose rights were completely trampled upon. Look to the lies the world was fed by western nations to justify the invasion of Iraq (which led to the formation of that murderous, destructive group labelled IS) as an example of lessons not learned. That competition between the two political, competing systems (The US V. the USSR) saw the Russians kicked out of Afghanistan and now the US, after almost 2 decades are talking peace with the Taliban. Lessons not learned and pity the ordinary folk caught up in all the machinations.
The fictional eyes are the five women (mother and four daughters) who recount their stories as the family of an arrogant, bigoted, evangelical Baptist minister (Nathan Price) in the Belgian Congo. The title is a wonderful metaphor for what happened to that country.
A wonderful read. Extremely highly recommended.