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Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White
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An old-fashioned, but effectively creepy tale. A group of anthropologists in search of unknown tribes in 'deepest, darkest' Africa unexpectedly encounters an old colleague - who has fallen victim to a grotesque curse.

Fairly certain I'd read this one before, long ago.

'Shawn' wrote, in a conversation about this story: "White seems, in fact, to be deliberately vague about the source of the curse. In Stone’s final conversation he asks one of the minnikins, “Has she forgiven me?” The response: “ ‘Not while the moss hangs from the cypresses,’ the head squeaked. ‘Not while the stars shine on Lake Pontchartrain will she forgive.’ ” It’s difficult to see how this reply relates in any way to the fetish-man. It seems instead to hint that the origin of the curse harks back to States and is somehow tied to the romantic entanglements described at length earlier in the story."

I would have to agree. The victim, Stone, also specifies that the curse was not laid on him from 'without,' but that it emanates from within his bones, which is why he has no hope of it being lifted. The poison that has ruined his life is within, part of his character, and he has taken that poison, and the knowledge of the people he has wronged and the ill deeds he has done, to Africa with him. Yes, his evil 'demons' manifest in a way that is "appropriate" to the setting, but I don't think that the reader is supposed to believe that a native shaman is responsible. Although certainly the story references and owes much to the genre involving fear of "primitive witchcraft," it's more about how people are unable to escape their own natures.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Aug 4, 2016 |
An old-fashioned, but effectively creepy tale. A group of anthropologists in search of unknown tribes in 'deepest, darkest' Africa unexpectedly encounters an old colleague - who has fallen victim to a grotesque curse.

Fairly certain I'd read this one before, long ago.

'Shawn' wrote, in a conversation about this story: "White seems, in fact, to be deliberately vague about the source of the curse. In Stone’s final conversation he asks one of the minnikins, “Has she forgiven me?” The response: “ ‘Not while the moss hangs from the cypresses,’ the head squeaked. ‘Not while the stars shine on Lake Pontchartrain will she forgive.’ ” It’s difficult to see how this reply relates in any way to the fetish-man. It seems instead to hint that the origin of the curse harks back to States and is somehow tied to the romantic entanglements described at length earlier in the story."

I would have to agree. The victim, Stone, also specifies that the curse was not laid on him from 'without,' but that it emanates from within his bones, which is why he has no hope of it being lifted. The poison that has ruined his life is within, part of his character, and he has taken that poison, and the knowledge of the people he has wronged and the ill deeds he has done, to Africa with him. Yes, his evil 'demons' manifest in a way that is "appropriate" to the setting, but I don't think that the reader is supposed to believe that a native shaman is responsible. Although certainly the story references and owes much to the genre involving fear of "primitive witchcraft," it's more about how people are unable to escape their own natures.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Aug 4, 2016 |
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