Nicholas Monsarrat is one of my most favourite authors.
His “Tribe” books, The Tribe that Lost Its Head, and Richer than All His Tribe made a deep impression on me as a young woman, although I could only bring myself to read them once.
I wrote to him years later – on the pretext that there were four pages missing from my copy of his autobiography – expressing my belief that, contrary to what the Tribe books implied, there was hope in Africa, and a better future in store. Was he perhaps thinking of writing such a book? If not, I would be tempted…
After his death I received a letter from his widow saying that Nicholas had indeed intended to write such a novel.
BREATH OF AFRICA was conceived on the basis of that hope. The book developed a mind of its own. But I trust its readers will appreciate the struggles an emerging country has to endure, while recognising that there is always hope, shining through.
I have never read his books, though of course, I know the name. Just another thing that I must do. Happy Christmas.
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