2009 Novel written by my MSF-collegue, psychiatrist in Sulaimania. Accepted to publish
A young Australian man goes to Africa, in the distance he has a crisis in his life. At home his friend Michael died in an overdose of heroin. His mother is the only safe person He does not have good relations with his father. The time when this happens is not specified and no references to exterior events in the world outside Ibadan, Nigeria.
Since youth he has an erotic dream about the black african women. He betrays his girlfriend Mary in obsessive nightly visits to a brothel. With some hesitation he accepts a black childless lady who wants him to try make her pregnant. In a personal diary he writes his thoughts.
His friends plays different roles in the crisis. With the intellectual american gay Hank he develops a close, real and deep friendship, a surrogate for his father. Ailiotus from Ghana lands in prison. Jeremy and the holy sisters represent the Christians. Harry the young boy servant becomes important. (Harry has an interesting parallell in the nigerian bestseller ”A half yellow sun” – by Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichie that was unknown to the author!)
The adventure of Robinson Crusoe, our youths racist hero, is mentioned.
Kierkegaard is an important existentialist referent. How to behave as a decent adult human being and to become a responsible man with authentic contact with others.
Was the fate of Hank and the way his destiny fulfilled necessary for getting through the psychoanlalytic crisis?
The western view of Africa – cliches are varied in discussion between the persons in the novel. From the first seduction to interest for culture, thoughts and habits over to disgust for something not understood. The mechanism of poverty. Still there is a wish to join the original dancing and use of drugs. The non working, cruel and corrupt institutions. Guilt and shame and who is responsible for the non development. The title is important but does not tell so much about the content.
It is always harder to evaluate a book when you have met and know the author. I understood the English with some use of a dictionary. I liked the rytm and style and recognized many frames of thought about Africa and the existentialist philosophical arguing. The psychological crisis is realisticly described.
/Peter Olsson, Jokkmokk