What a super intriguing book. Seriously. Very interesting.
White Dog Fell From Sky - Eleanor Morse
Eleanor Morse’s rich and intimate portrait of Botswana, and of three people whose intertwined lives are at once tragic and remarkable, is an absorbing and deeply moving story.
In apartheid South Africa in 1976, medical student Isaac Muthethe is forced to flee his country after witnessing a friend murdered by white members of the South African Defense Force. He is smuggled into Botswana, where he is hired as a gardener by a young American woman, Alice Mendelssohn, who has abandoned her Ph.D. studies to follow her husband to Africa. When Isaac goes missing and Alice goes searching for him, what she finds will change her life and inextricably bind her to this sunburned, beautiful land.
Like the African terrain that Alice loves, Morse’s novel is alternately austere and lush, spare and lyrical. She is a writer of great and wide-ranging gifts.
First of all, the story taking place in South Africa was really interesting because I hadn't actually read anything in that setting. Which I always like right away because obviously having never been there myself, I really rely on the author to give me a setting- describe to me what I should be seeing in my mind and Eleanor Morse does a fantastic job of this without giving you too much. The story of Isaac, who sees his friend murdered, is pretty amazing. I mean, I don't know what Africa was like in the 70's, but I think about what it is like now from what I see on the news and to travel to another area and essentially be dumped somewhere has got to be terrifying.
Enter a really great dog which is the first thing he sees in his new setting and enter Alice, a young American who ultimately saves Isaac. It's just a really intriguing novel and although some of the cruelty that we read about is a bit harsh and a little hard to take it- it's reality for so many. It makes you think about us as human beings, how are we able to inflict that kind of pain onto other humans and just not walk away damaged. I know that if I did any of the acts described in the book, myself as a person would be damaged. I couldn't ever stomach that yet so many people are essentially raised with the mindset of that being completely normal. It's really a fascinating look at human nature.
My only complaint about the book was that a lot of focus was put onto Alice and her failing marriage and it really feels like it needs to be more of Isaac's story. It's like this could have gone in a different direction almost and I wonder what that would have been like. Either way, it was a solid book. It wasn't overwhelmingly great and it wasn't awful. It's a decent, solid book.
If you're looking for things to fill up your summer reading list, pick it up and let me know what you think!