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Equatoria by Tom Dreyer
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Equatoria (edition 2008)

by Tom Dreyer, Michiel Heyns (Translator)

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Member:adpaton
Title:Equatoria
Authors:Tom Dreyer
Other authors:Michiel Heyns (Translator)
Info:Aflame Books (2008), Mass Market Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Fiction, Africa, Belgian Congo, Congo River, River Trip, Animals, Okapi, Scientists, Pygmies, Jungles, Colonialism, Imperialism, 20th Century

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Equatoria by Tom Dreyer

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Equatoria is Dreyer’s first novel to be published in English and without reading the Afrikaans it’s impossible to tell if the surreal mood is a reflection of the original or an inspired addition by the award-winning translator Michiel Heyns.

Admirers of director Werner Herzog will appreciate this book about a river trip into ‘the heart of darkness’: more ‘Aguirre Wrath of God’ than ‘Apocalypse Now’, it is set in the Belgian Congo of 1912, and follows two young English explorers in a quest for the semi-mythical Okapi.

In modern parlance the theme might be ‘what happens in Africa, stays in Africa’ – including the wildlife – but such sentiments were unthinkable to Edwardian adventurers: in a sense, the animal is a symbol of the continent which the men attempt to capture, tame and bring home, with disastrous results.

The book ends on an open yet forebodingly pessimistic note: the mission has become an obsession and far from featuring heroic and sensational twists is imbued with the mystical ambiguity which is at the heart of Africa. ( )
  adpaton | Jul 8, 2008 |
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