The Shadow of the Sun: My African LifePaperback
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- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 126mm x 194mm x 18mm | 220g
- Publication date: 28 March 2002
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0140292624
- ISBN 13: 9780140292626
- Sales rank: 18,391
"Only with the greatest of simplifications, for the sake of convenience, can we say Africa. In reality, except as a geographical term, Africa doesn't exist". Ryszard Kapuscinski has been writing about the people of Africa throughout his career. In a study that avoids the official routes, palaces and big politics, he sets out to create an account of post-colonial Africa seen at once as a whole and as a location that wholly defies generalised explanations. It is both a sustained meditation on themosaic of peoples and practices we call 'Africa', and an impassioned attempt to come to terms with humanity itself as it struggles to escape from foreign domination, from the intoxications of freedom, from war and from politics as theft.
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Ryszard Kapuscinski was a legendary journalist and writer whose previous books include ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE, THE EMPEROR: DOWNFALL OF AN AUTOCRAT (which Salman Rushdie called 'an unforgettable, fiercely comic, and finally compassionate book'), SHAH OF SHAHS, IMPERIUM and THE SOCCER WAR.
"This harrowing, at times shattering, chronicle of 40 years of adventures in Africa finds Kapuscinski in trouble again. . . . He crushes a cobra to save his life, moves with nomads through Somalia, and waits to die from thirst beneath a truck in the Sahara. Kapuscinski alternates between plain prose and shimmering imagery, using understatement to dispel easy stereotypes about Africa and Africans, and finishing a paragraph or two of spare exposition with some dazzling revelation or note of remorse that leaves you reeling. With rare exception, these distant episodes amaze." -- Brad Wieners, "Outside ""An astonishing piece of writing . . . as vital a book as any I've read in recent years, an outstanding introduction to the tangled threads of African culture and politics and a manual in the modes of human cruelty and redemption . . . Kapuscinski . . . may be the greatest journalist of our time. . . . Kapuscinski bears his historical baggae lightly through the African landscape, but his inability to tell the story in the dispassionate tones of an outsider is what gives this visionary book such power." -- Mark Levine, "Men's Journal "From the U.K.: " ""A dazzling narrative historian, using his own experience as the principal archive. . . . he is never less than clear and pungent; his short chapter on the genocidal hatreds of Rwanda is worth a hundred newspaper features. . . . He brings the world to us as nobody else." -- Ian Jack, "The Observer" "Kapuscinski doesn't just 'cover' Africa -- he knows it. His perspective is both vast and uniquely informed." -- Keith Wilson, "Focus" "His book most successfully conveys the charms, frustrations, tragedies, comedies, brutalities, and kindnesses of life in Africa. . . . as an observer, and as a recorder of his observations, he is second to none." -- Anthony Daniels, "Sunday Telegraph""His is the first wide-ranging, elegant, aristocratic intelligence since Conrad's to bear on Africa in all its perplexity. . . . Kapuscinski is a master of the charismatic shorthand that leaves the reader knowing all there is to know, yet wanting to know more." -- Jeremy Harding," Evening Standard" "Both subtle and haunting, a book written with love and longing, as sharp and life-enhancing as the sun that rises on an African morning." -- Anthony Sattin, "Sunday Times" "An elliptical picture of African life that is intellectually acute and emotionally rich." -- Will Cohu," Daily Telegraph" "He has given the truest, least partial, most comprehensive and vivid account of what life is like on our planet. He is an unflinching witness "and" an exuberant stylist." -- Geoff Dyer, "The Guardian"
A moving portrait of Africa from Poland's most celebrated foreign correspondent - a masterpiece from a modern master. Famous for being in the wrong places at just the right times, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa in 1957, at the beginning of the end of colonial rule - the "sometimes dramatic and painful, sometimes enjoyable and jubilant" rebirth of a continent. "The Shadow of the Sun sums up the author's experiences ("the record of a 40-year marriage") in this place that became the central obsession of his remarkable career. From the hopeful years of independence through the bloody disintegration of places like Nigeria, Rwanda and Angola, Kapuscinski recounts great social and political changes through the prism of the ordinary African. He examines the rough-and-ready physical world and identifies the true geography of Africa: a little-understood spiritual universe, an African way of being. He looks also at Africa in the wake of two epoch-making changes: the arrival of AIDS and the definitive departure of the white man. Kapuscinski's rare humanity invests his subjects with a grandeur and a dignity unmatched by any other writer on the Third World, and his unique ability to discern the universal in the particular has never been more powerfully displayed than in this work.