x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Revolution: Plagued by misery

Jakob Ejersbo makes the best of his years spent in Africa with this searing portrayal of life on the continent, part two of his posthumously published trilogy.

Revolution
Jakob Ejersbo
Maclehose Press

The second of Jakob Ejersbo's posthumously published Africa trilogy, Revolution takes a detour from the events of its predecessor Exile. While the latter was a dark coming-of-age story of a white teenage girl in Tanzania, the sequel branches out into a series of vignettes featuring some of Exile's minor characters as well as a few new ones bearing their own scars of hardship.

Ejersbo makes the best of his years spent in Africa with his searing portrayal of a continent plagued by misery. His narrators are all outsiders of sorts, trying to overcome the usual hurdles of corrupt governments and personal vices. In countries where a bottle of Coke is a luxury, their struggle to live as honestly as possible grows more complicated when mere survival becomes an increasingly daily necessity.

Tales of woe from Africa are nothing new in mainstream fiction, yet Ejersbo brings an understanding to his characters' lives that only an insider can. But there are no happy endings in Revolution, which in turn begs the question of what constitutes happiness in a place where its presence is fleeting at best.

* Noori Passela