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A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by…
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A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (2008)

by Nicholas Drayson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5035820,248 (3.92)166
  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 166 mentions

English (54)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (58)
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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 |
A competition between Mr. Malik and Harry Khan to see who can report the most species of birds in one week. The winner gets to ask Rose to the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball. ( )
  laureyd | Mar 27, 2016 |
This a charming and delightful story, set in Nairobi, Kenya, about a retired man who has admired the woman who leads his bird-watching group for many years, but has been too shy to do anything about it. He then learns that another man, whom he has known from his younger school days, is also interested in the woman. A competition develops to determine which of the men can be the one to invite the woman to an upcoming ball. Although the story starts off a little slow, it soon becomes very entertaining and I had trouble putting it down. There is humor and adventure and even a little danger. We also learn a lot about Nairobi, with a little of the past as well as the present, and its culture, and, of course, its birds. There are also some great characters to learn more about as the story develops. The narrator is interesting -- sometimes he would tell the story as an omnicient narrator, but other times he would mention his own personal opinions and experiences, even though he was not one of the characters in the story -- it is a different style, but somewhat refreshing. I really enjoyed this book. ( )
  AdrienneJS | May 18, 2015 |
Read this book on a journey through Kenya. Great travel read. ( )
  Steffsobel | Dec 21, 2014 |
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For Bernadette
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'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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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 3 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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