Tuesday, 15 July 2014

BLOOD RIVER – Tim Butcher, 2007

The journey which this book takes you on leaves you on the edge of your seat more than once.
Butcher’s attempt to follow of Stanley’s route is a mad idea and he meets with almost as many obstacles as his forbearer.
The most interesting part of the book, though, is the description of The Congo itself. Paved roads are now overgrown paths, housing estates and cemeteries have been reclaimed by the bush and hotels are now hostels or garrisons for rebels fighting for an indeterminate cause. This country has the potential to be one of the world’s richest but corruption on a gigantic scale ensures that the profits from its immense cache of mineral resources are enjoyed only by a select few.

Butcher also makes reference to previous attempts to capture the essence of the area in print, including Heart of Darkness, A Bend in the River, The Poisonwood Bible and mid twentieth century tourist brochures when it was the stopping place for ocean liners.

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