Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa
by Nicholas Drayson

This is NOT a field guide to birds, but a fiction book. The setting is Kenya and we’re introduced to quiet, widowed Mr. Malik who has been secretly in love (for several years) with Rose Mbikwa, also widowed, who leads the weekly bird walks. He’s worked up his nerve to invite Rose to attend the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball – THE social engagement of the year. But into Malik’s social club, the Asadi Club, walks his old school nemesis, Harry Khan, a handsome ladies’ man who’s back home on vacation. He’s just met Rose and has decided to invite her himself. Malik protests and the club arranges a challenge: whoever counts the most birds in one week may ask Rose to the dance. The reader is not overwhelmed with birding terms or activities, and an interest in birds is not necessary for the enjoyment of this book. The focus is on the three main characters and their activities (including a surprise revelation about Mr. Malik). This is a slow-paced tale, but never boring, as the storyteller quietly unfolds the background of everyone involved. I won’t tell you who finally wins the day with Rose, but I will say the story ends appropriately and you’ll like the ending. You won’t be able to put the book down (odd to think of a quiet tale as a real page-turner, but it is), and you’ll be sorry when the story has ended. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Reviews of this book on LibraryThing ] | [ Penguin Publishing's page for Nicholas Drayson ]

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