Heyman, formerly on the staff of Life and The New York Times, makes her debut with this novel about a rough-and-ready female wildlife photographer. In it, she mixes conservationist zoology with romance, and winds up with a strange stew. Her heroine is Mirie Keane, off for the adventure of her life in an African land called Simahali—where she has "given herself a chimerical task, of photographing an elephant being born in the wild." Back home, Mirie assumes, her scriptwriter-boyfriend waits; in Simahali, she's set up to go on safari with the master shutterbug, Max Howden—an attractive but standoffish fellow whom Mirie can't quite read. She finds lots of elephants, though no deliveries, injures herself abandoning a crashing plane, has her camera confiscated by a Simahalian official, and then learns by mail that her New York beau has jumped ship. Shanghaied in Simahali, Mirie decides to join Max on a trip to one of the remotest parts of Africa, where a mama elephant offers her that photo opportunity she's been waiting for (in a cave, shades of Tarzan at the elephant's graveyard), and Max at last unzips his sleeping bag to her. Heyman has a discomfiting penchant for theatrical gesture and a main character with problems, chiefly her fuzzy-headedness and self-concern—which keep her quest for baby elephants from seeming much weightier than a handful of peanuts.
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