Hofmann returns to Kenya 14 years after marrying a Masai warrior and giving birth to his child.
Oddly, this second sequel to four-million-copy bestseller The White Masai (2006) is being released before its immediate predecessor, Back From Africa, which deals with the author’s post-Kenyan life back home in Switzerland. So Hofmann’s considerable readership is immediately transported back to familiar territory, as she begins this installment by expressing a few self-doubts about the return venture and then heading back to search for her former husband, Lketinga. But the success of Hofmann’s memoir has made this trip altogether different, and she spends a generous portion of the book discussing the movie adaptation of The White Masai, which is being shot at the same time as her reunion with Lketinga and his family. Also, she has divorced Lketinga, although this means nothing in Africa, where she is still regarded as one of his wives. Hofmann sticks to the short, staccato prose that made the original book so successful, and she delights in being reunited with her former husband, his mother and many others. But once those events are documented, the narrative doesn’t really go anywhere. It lacks both the specificity and the sense of wide-eyed wonder that Hofmann’s first memoir delivered so effectively, and it often feels like she’s struggling to stir new ingredients into the pot. Most disappointingly, the author doesn’t bring along her now-teenage daughter, Napirai, which would surely have led to some intriguing moments with Lketinga. In fact, it often seems as though both Hofmann and her former husband have simply moved on; the connection they once enjoyed has vanished from both their lives and, in turn, from Hofmann’s prose. Fleeting interest is created by Lketinga’s thoughts on mercenary journalists who have tracked him down in the wake of the first book’s success, but there are too many dull details, especially concerning the unremarkable movie shoot.
A very unsatisfactory follow-up.