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A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by…

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (2008)

by Nicholas Drayson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5546227,225 (3.92)188
  1. 20
    The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Both books have a similar, lighthearted tone, and of course, they have the African setting in common.
  2. 10
    The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies (bergs47)
  3. 00
    The Snake Catcher's Daughter by Michael Pearce (keeley)

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» See also 188 mentions

English (58)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Definitely read if you're going to Nairobi - fun to read and accurate descriptions of Kenya. ( )
  bblum | Dec 2, 2018 |
Widower Henry Malik has been in love with widow and fellow bird enthusiast Rose Mbikwa for quite some time. He has just screwed up his courage to ask her to the Nairobi Hunt Ball.

But a schoolfellow nemesis of his, Harry Khan, appears and is equally taken by Rose. In order to settle who has the right to ask Rose to the ball, the two men engage in a top secret wager as to who can identify the most species of birds.

Enough Nairobi details to give a feeling for the realities of Kenyan life – street gangs, crime, raiders from across the Ugandan border, dangerous politics, AIDS, and the eco tourists.

But mostly this book is fun; more so if you would enjoy details of the rich bird life this area has to offer.

I'll definitely be up for the sequel! ( )
  streamsong | Feb 16, 2018 |
This is a fun, light comedy of manners set in contemporary Nairobi. I like the author's sympathetic take on characters and his quirky narrator, but he could have put a bit more depth in the minor characters, and the ending was a bit of a letdown. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa- Nicholas Drayson
4 stars

This isn’t actually a field guide. It is a sweet story of love in middle age. It takes place in 21st century Nairobi where a remnant of the colonial government takes the form of the annual Nairobi Hunt Club Ball. The unassuming Mr. Malik is trying to gather his courage to invite Rose Mbikwa, an eligible widow to the ball. Enter Harry Khan, wealthy playboy, who would also like a date with the lucky widow. Following a discussion among the sporting members of the club, a competition is proposed. Whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball. Bets are laid. Mr. Malik and Mr. Khan embark upon a series of comedic misadventures which highlight the absurdity of bird watching as a competitive sport.
If you are a fan of McCall Smith’s Botswana series, you will enjoy this little book. It made me smile and occasionally laugh out loud. It also sent me to the internet to view pictures of the birds of East Africa.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I loved the bird-list as sword in the duel for the lady's hand at the ball! I loved the sense of place created. The character development was outstanding. ( )
  BridgitDavis | Apr 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholas Draysonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bower, HumphreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Bernadette
First words
'Ah yes,' said Rose Mbikwa, looking up at the large dark bird with elegant tail soaring high above the car park of the Nairobi Museum, 'a black kite. Which is of course, not black but brown.'
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Book description
Haiku summary
counting Kenyan birds 
hopes to beat flashy Khan and
waltz with lovely Rose                           [yalliejane]

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547152582, Hardcover)

A beguiling novel that does for contemporary Kenya and its 1,000 species of birds what Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies Detective series does for Botswana

For the past three years, the widower Mr. Malik has been secretly in love with Rose Mbikwa, a woman who leads the weekly bird walks sponsored by the East African Ornithological Society. Reserved and honorable, Malik wouldn't be noticed by a bystander in a Nairobi street—except perhaps to comment on his carefully sculpted combover. But beneath that unprepossessing exterior lies a warm heart and a secret passion.

But just as Malik is getting up the nerve to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball (the premier social occasion of the Kenyan calendar), who should pop up but his nemesis from his school days. The jokester Harry Khan, good-looking in a flashy way and quick of foot, has also become enraptured with the object of Malik’s affection.
So begins the competition cooked up by fellow members of the Asadi club: whoever can identify the most species of birds in one week’s time gets the privilege of asking Ms. Mbikwa to the ball.
Set against the lush Kenyan landscape rich with wildlife and political intrigue, this irresistible novel has been sold in eight countries and is winning fans worldwide.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:49 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Working up the nerve to invite Rose Mbikwa, the woman he has secretly loved for three years, to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball, Mr. Malik, a reserved, honorable widower, is suddenly confronted by the return of his school nemesis, the flashy Harry Kahn, who also sets his sights on Rose, and embarks on a bird identification competition for the prize of Rose's company at the ball.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Average: (3.92)
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2 5
3 31
3.5 27
4 100
4.5 18
5 32

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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