TALES TOLD NEAR A CROCODILE by Humphrey Harman
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TALES TOLD NEAR A CROCODILE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wah! surprise, indignation, even dismay--all have their turn in this collection of shrewd, often revealing stories from the northern shores of Nyanza, meaning The Lake (or Lake Victoria). As retold by the author of African Samson (1966), the rhythms of indigenous speech, the pace which varies between long phrase and sudden stop, the precise, often original imagery, give power and piquancy to the tales. Some are fables, some are long legendary narratives; almost every one has a moral, stated or implied but always inherent. Arap Sang and the Cranes demonstrates that ""a gift is a great responsibility to the giver""; Onsongo the absent-minded, who is in fast an artist, proves that ""brains are better than brawn any day,"" even for stealing cattle. The beginning of the uneasy relationship among Thunder, Elephant and Dorobo (early man) evinces a canny understanding of the nature of each. Occasionally Mr. Harmon's confidential tone becomes annoying, but on the whole his asides are pointed and slyly humorous: ""Vultures usually have indigestion; it's the things they eat."" come visit a while, and stay to share the excitements and involvements of a distant people.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1967
Publisher: Viking