MACBURNIE KING IN...SOUL TO SOUL by John Ballard

MACBURNIE KING IN...SOUL TO SOUL

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 ``You Americans think all of Africa is hunger, Apartheid and a safari'' challenges a character in this sprawling mix of fact and fiction. As a reporter and, later, a gofer attached to a struggling world music tour, white teenager MacBurnie King continues her travels through the Third World (begun in Monsoon: A Novel To End World Hunger, 1985), seeing Africa as it really is from Casablanca to Mozambique; she visits its historical sites, samples its troubled present when a band member is shot in a race riot, and sees a graphic video of South African atrocities. The story is tucked among advertisements for Ballard's other books, testimonials from scholars and celebrities (including Coretta Scott King), sheaves of small b&w photos (most of their captions appear only at the end), and well over 100 pages of back matter--mostly exhortatory, Afrocentric essays on African history and culture extracted from the separately published Soul To Soul Guide to African-American Consciousness, bound dos-a-dos. Lacking are an index, an accurate table of contents, or even full pagination. The saga is continued in ...Brothers and Sisters (introduction by Nelson Mandela), in which the American teenager sees Victoria Falls and helps a fugitive Eritrean return to his homeland; back matter here includes profiles of the several photographers and essays on African culture and Rastafarianism. Though obviously a labor of love, and packed with worthy information, these well-meaning but impossibly cluttered and disorganized volumes will be less useful than nonfiction of narrower scope and less involving as fiction than Dickinson's AK (1992). Several other sequels are on the way. For a more balanced view, try Africa: Opposing Viewpoints (1992). (Fiction/Nonfiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-932279-10-4
Page count: 375pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993