From an obscure historical incident comes this elephantine ordeal of survival in the African wilderness. It's 1751 and Elisabeth Larsson, on expedition with her naturalist husband, is left alone: the guide shoots himself, the Hottentots desert, and her husband disappears. Wondrously, a runaway slave appears to help her back to the Cape. He's all arrogant sneers, she's all insults and condescension, and then Ah, Wilderness! they're Swept Away into sensual, cerebral dialogues on love and personhood. Even Poitier and Jane Fonda couldn't carry off these explorations, although some readers will relish the torrid zones.