I got a nice surprise this morning. My book I.O.U. SEX is featured today on Red Adept’s website. [Red Adept Reviews] The “Casting Call” column gives authors the opportunity to present their books as if they were movies, naming actors and actresses to play the main characters, assigning a director, etc. My co-author and I had lots of fun deciding who’d play the roles of Kiki, June, and Peggy! Although I wish the Red Adept people hadn’t edited the synopsis down to a single phrase, it was still fun to see the book presented there.
by Ruth Harris
In this devastating memoir, journalist Peter Godwin tells the story of a family, a family secret and a dictator’s malevolent destruction of a country and its citizens. Peter Godwin, who grew up in Zimbabwe and later became a writer, teacher and BBC-TV reporter, returns to Zimbabwe to visit his family home and his aging parents. There he finds that the once-prosperous country he — and they — love has been turned from the breadbasket of Africa into an impoverished state on the verge of famine and collapse. Savings have been wiped out by 1000% inflation, money is worthless, an education system that was once considered the best on the continent no longer exists. Farms, factories, businesses, hospitals, hotels have been destroyed; the once-lucrative tourist trade has been demolished. Corruption and brutality taint everyday life. In Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe there is no safety and no hope.
In clean, elegant prose, Godwin tells his parents’ stories without self-pity or hyped-up drama. His father has lived with a carefully-guarded secret that has shadowed his life and his relationships. His mother, a doctor, struggles valiantly with a dying husband and a country in free fall where not even long-time friends and associates can be trusted. WHEN A CROCODILE EATS THE SUN is everything a memoir can be: personal, political, cultural. This is not light diversion but haunting, tragic and tender…serious, satisfying reading of superior quality that, at times, moved me to tears.
This note at the end of the Back Bay Books edition explains the title: “In some remove villages of Zimbabwe, it is believed that a solar eclipse occurs when a crocodile eats the sun. This celestial crocodile, they say, briefly consumes our life-giving star as a warning that he is much displeased with the behavior of man below. It is the very worst of omens.”