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Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Out of Darkness, Shining Light

ISBN
9780571345328
Published
20/02/2020
9780571345328
Format
Hardback
Price
£16.99
Paperback
320

About the Book

ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 2020 FICTION HIGHLIGHTS: Petina Gappah's epic journey through nineteenth-century Africa is ‘engrossing, beautiful and deeply imaginative.’ (Yaa Gyasi)

This is the story of the body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, the explorer David Livingstone – and the sixty-nine men and women who carried his remains for 1,500 miles so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own country.

The wise men of his age say Livingstone blazed into the darkness of their native land leaving a track of light behind where white men who followed him could tread in perfect safety. But in Petina Gappah’s radical novel, it is those in the shadows of history – those who saved a white man’s bones; his dark companions; his faithful retinue on an epic funeral march – whose voices are resurrected with searing intensity.

This final, fateful journey across the African interior is lead by Halima, Livingstone’s sharp-tongued cook, and three of his most devoted servants: Jacob, Chuma and Susi. Their tale of how his corpse was borne out of nineteenth-century Africa – carrying the maps that sowed the seeds of the continent’s brutal colonisation – has the power of myth. It is not only symbolic of slavery’s hypocrisy, but a portrait of a world trembling on the cusp of total change – and a celebration of human bravery, loyalty and love.

ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 2020 FICTION HIGHLIGHTS: Petina Gappah's epic journey through nineteenth-century Africa is ‘engrossing, beautiful and deeply imaginative.’ (Yaa Gyasi)This is the story of the body of Bwana Daudi, the Doctor, the explorer David Livingstone – and the sixty-nine men and women who carried his remains for 1,500 miles so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own country.The wise men of his age say Livingstone blazed into the darkness of their native land leaving a track of light behind where white men who followed him could tread in perfect safety. But in Petina Gappah’s radical novel, it is those in the shadows of history – those who saved a white man’s bones; his dark companions; his faithful retinue on an epic funeral march – whose voices are resurrected with searing intensity. This final, fateful journey across the African interior is lead by Halima, Livingstone’s sharp-tongued cook, and three of his most devoted servants: Jacob, Chuma and Susi. Their tale of how his corpse was borne out of nineteenth-century Africa – carrying the maps that sowed the seeds of the continent’s brutal colonisation – has the power of myth. It is not only symbolic of slavery’s hypocrisy, but a portrait of a world trembling on the cusp of total change – and a celebration of human bravery, loyalty and love.
  • Petina Gappah

    Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. Her debut story collection, An Elegy for Easterly, won the Guardian First Book Prize in 2009.

“A wise and funny novel ... A wonderful creation ... A spirited, illuminating take on a story I thought I knew, but did not know at all.”
- Times (Book of the Month)
“It’s a captivating premise for a novel that despite its Faulknerian DNA is entirely Gappah’s own ... Some of Wainwright’s sections are marvels of verisimilitude ... Counterbalancing this mimetic quality, Halima’s observations sweep towards an aching lyricism ... What the novel achieves through the intersection of these jostling narratives is a stripping back of Livingstone’s legacy ... [An] ambitious, meticulously researched work [with] a critical understanding of the usefulness of fiction for filling in history’s gaps.”
- Sara Collins, Guardian [Book of the Day]

Books by this Author

Fiction An Elegy for Easterly

An Elegy for Easterly

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An Elegy for Easterly

An Elegy for Easterly

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Fiction The Book of Memory

The Book of Memory

Petina Gappah

Fiction The Book of Memory

The Book of Memory

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