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White Dog Fell from the Skyby Eleanor Morse
Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary novel of love, friendship, and betrayal for admirers of Abraham Verghese and Edwidge Danticat.
Eleanor Morse’s rich and intimate portrait of Botswana, and of three people whose intertwined lives are at once tragic and remarkable, is an absorbing and deeply moving story.
In apartheid South Africa in 1976, medical student Isaac Muthethe is forced to flee his country after witnessing a friend murdered by white members of the South African Defense Force. He is smuggled into Botswana, where he is hired as a gardener by a young American woman, Alice Mendelssohn, who has abandoned her Ph.D. studies to follow her husband to Africa. When Isaac goes missing and Alice goes searching for him, what she finds will change her life and inextricably bind her to this sunburned, beautiful land.
Like the African terrain that Alice loves, Morse’s novel is alternately austere and lush, spare and lyrical. She is a writer of great and wide-ranging gifts.
"Morse's third novel (after Chopin's Garden) is both brutal and beautiful. Set in the late 1970s, in Botswana and South Africa, it explores the strength of friendship, the bonds of love, and the inhumanity regimes are capable of inflicting upon individuals. Medical student Isaac Muthethe flees South Africa after white police murder his friend. Dumped in a field across the border in Botswana with nothing, he's adopted by a persistent white dog and runs into an old schoolmate, Amen, now working with the MK, the military wing of the South African ANC. Staying with Amen, he wanders further into town, into the Old Village, the dog always with him, and is hired as a gardener by Alice, an American woman in a shell of a marriage. Their friendship grows, along with the garden, and the ever-present White Dog. Alice, upon learning of her husband's infidelity, splits from him and travels into the bush for her job with the Ministry of Local Government and Lands, where she meets and falls for the unpredictable Ian Muethe. When she returns, she discovers that South African police crossed the border, raided her home, and took Isaac away. White Dog hasn't stopped waiting for his return. Refusing to abandon the dog, Alice goes in search of Isaac. Botswana, South Africa, and the loyal White Dog are characters as important and well-drawn as Alice and Isaac. Morse's unflinching portrayals of extremes of loyalty and cruelty make for an especially memorable novel. Agent: Jane Gelfman, Curtis Brown, U.K." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"White Dog Fell From the Sky catches the soul of compassion. It is one of the wisest, most comprehensive, most compelling books I've ever read. Neither human nor beast is treated sentimentally, but the capacity to care is celebrated here in a way that is politically and personally cogent. It's a wild and wooly story in a far away land, yet its relevance is present in our own imperfect hearts: who and how to love and when and why to stop. Here's the real thing, a book of genuine intellect and inspiration, superbly written, fascinating." Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife, Abundance and Adam and Eve
“Magic, friendship, the tragedy of apartheid and the triumph of loyalty are recounted in poetic, powerful prose by this unconventional and intelligent writer. Shattering and uplifting.” Kuki Gallmann, author of I Dreamed of Africa
“Eleanor Morse captures the magic of the African landscape and the terror and degradation of life under apartheid…[She] channels her fascination with the factious regions into her courageous characters, whose story roars along and arrives, finally, at hope.” O, The Oprah Magazine
"There are not enough adjectives to describe the strength of this story. Eleanor Morse has written a character driven novel with character. White Dog Fell From the Sky has a life of its own that blends reality, insight, observation, and nuance with such ease and grace you forget you are reading....A powerful story of love — love of a person, a people, a land and living with purpose....Emotionally riveting, heartbreaking, and at times unbearable, while simultaneously embracing hope, insight, and a sense of perpetual mystery. Each sentence is more beautiful than the last." Gabriel Constans, New York Journal of Books
"White Dog Fell from the Sky is that rare thing: a convinced and convincing love story. Past that — and this novels reach is wide — it reminds us, tellingly, how Africa is mother of us all.” Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls Rising and The Color of Night
“Big issues of ecology, politics, borders, race relations, art, and history.” Booklist
"Morse brings the natural world of Botswana to vivid life." Kirkus Reviews
“Morse's descriptions of the vast landscapes of Botswana are specific and ravishing.” BookPage
“Lyrical and quite beautiful, with searing descriptions of the dusty earth, unforgiving sun, and stark skies.” Entertainment Weekly
“The infinite, healing power of love is put to the test....Morse writes heartbreakingly of isolation, loss, and the soul-deadening effect of torture. Her mesmerizing descriptions of Africa will leave readers wondering how a continent of such beauty can harbor so much evil....This is for readers unafraid to plumb the depths of human emotions.” Library Journal
“Breathtaking beauty, next to danger and hardships and make-do living....Witness it in all its terrible randomness.” The Dallas Morning News
“Eleanor Morse writes with sympathy and precision, sensitive to the dislocations of race and class — the grave imbalance of power....The book unfolds into stories both tragic and transcendent.” Boston.com
About the Author
Eleanor Morse is the author of An Unexpected Forest, which won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medalist Award for the Best Regional Fiction in the Northeast U.S., and was selected winner of Best Published Fiction by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance at the 2008 Maine Literary Awards. She lives on Peaks Island, Maine.
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