'Graham Greene with a bit of Alexander McCall Smith thrown in. Very readable, very humorous – a charming first novel.'—Radio 5 LiveRead an extract
Part love story, part journey of discovery and part comedy of manners, Sue Eckstein’s captivating novel explores a disparate group of expatriates in West Africa and their complicated ties to the country, its people and to each other.
When new diplomat Daniel Maddison arrives in Bakinabe nothing is quite as it seems or what he imagined it would be. Isabel Redmond is tiring of her husband’s fascination with black women’s breasts; the High Commissioner and his wife, Fenella, are both enjoying illicit affairs; an old English judge is wandering through the scrub following a tribe of Fulani herdsmen; Bob Newpin is about to make a killing in timeshares; and just what Father Seamus is up to is anyone’s guess.
Searching for something beyond the cocktail parties, golf and gossip, Daniel finds himself drawn to people and places outside the experience of his High Commission colleagues – and specifically to a dusty warehouse in the heart of the city where a thin blonde woman is silently measuring out lengths of brightly coloured cloth.
Funny, lyrical and ultimately redemptive, Sue Eckstein’s assured debut about passion, loneliness and being an outsider has a deliciously intricate plot, compelling characters and razor-sharp dialogue.
Sue Eckstein is also the author of Interpreters (Myriad, 2011).