HONEY For Tom by Robert Lalt
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Never trust a Christian African."" ..... ""The trouble starts when they stop saying 'Yes Sir!'""..... ""Bape; theft; fraud; embezzlement; political conspiracy.... They all get that way sooner or later- Africa emerges.""- These are a few of the opinions voiced by some rather worn, disappointed and defeated British administrators in East Africa. It is centered in the same part of the world as Gwyn Griffin's Something of an Achievement and By The North Gate, and while giving a dead level look at the crumpled colonial power there, it shares its sympathies with both black and white. Since, for every grievance, there is an equivalent guilt; perhaps Roper-Traherne's, the Surveyor-General, a tireless worker who has neglected his wife, perhaps Valerie's, his wife, whose boredom has led from too much to drink too much to eat- to the shameless exposure of her body to the African Zach; or perhaps Zach boss, Humphries, whose slipshod inefficiency in handling his department has enabled Zachio to defraud him, and whose misjudgment of the native may now cost him his promotion. And finally there is Zachio, a scruffy figure, with an insolent smile and an intelligent command of his superior's shaky situation.... There are some striking scenes and portraits here, of hapless Civil servants and hostile natives (is half an education the missionary legacy- better than none?) and the unfortunate questions raised lead to some bitter truth-telling. It is a knowledgeable first novel, saddening, frightening and very effective.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1961
Publisher: Random House