THE LAST SAFARI by Alan Scholefield


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From Scholefield (King of the Golden Valley, Fire in the Ice, The Sea Cave), a serious-minded but highly entertaining look at the disintegration of the ""old"" Africa through the personal destruction of a Hemingwayesque writer. Background: Neil Shaw was born in Kenya during the 1930's, the son of a Scottish immigrant, and had an idyllic childhood on a high, remote plateau. His best friend was Martin Donaldson, but they drifted apart when their fathers quarreled. In the late 40's, Shaw returned from school in England with a beautiful wife, Lucy, and a young son, Mark--Shaw would write while Lucy raised a family. But all this was shattered during the Mau-Mau uprisings, when Lucy was found brutally murdered and raped. Shaw tracked down her supposed killer--a young black man he grew up with--dispatched him, and then fled to Spain with Mark. With the healing help of a Scandinavian woman and a Maxwell Perkins-like editor in New York, Shaw wrote his one and only masterpiece, From a Far Country. As the story opens in the 80's, Shaw is the alcoholic husband of a shrewish, grasping wife, burnt out as a writer, and alienated from Mark, now an architect in London. He has turned his father's land into a foolishly conceived game park in an attempt to preserve the vanishing wildlife, but his lions begin to kill the cattle of neighbor Martin Donaldson, now a big businessman with connections in the black government. In an apparent fit of rage, Shaw murders Donaldson; when Mark flies in from London, however, he learns the killing has to do, not with cattle, but with the death of his mother some 30 years before, and the novel ends on a surprising and explosive note. Scholefield covers the same ground as a number of writers (particularly Robert Ruark), but he does so with intelligence, energy, and understanding. Good dramatic entertainment.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's