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The Last King of Scotlandby Giles Foden
Synopses & Reviews
Shortly after his arrival in Uganda, Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan is called to the scene of a bizarre accident: Idi Amin, careening down a dirt road in his red Maserati, has run over a cow. When Garrigan tends to Amin, the dictator, in his obsession for all things Scottish, appoints him as his personal physician. And so begins a fateful dalliance with the central African leader whose Emperor Jones-style autocracy would transform into a reign of terror.
In The Last King of Scotland, Foden's Amin is as ridiculous as he is abhorrent: a grown man who must be burped like an infant, a self-proclaimed cannibalist who, at the end of his 8 years in power, would be responsible for 300,000 deaths. And as Garrigan awakens to his patient's baroque barbarism — and his own complicity in it — we enter a venturesome meditation on conscience, charisma, and the slow corruption of the human heart.
Brilliantly written, comic and profound, The Last King of Scotland announces a major new talent.
"This [is a] decidedly quirky yet absorbing first novel — that brings to mind the diabolical Evelyn Waugh." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Genuinely beautiful and disturbing." The Village Voice
The story, both comic and chilling, of Idi Amin's effect on the life of the Scottish civil servant, Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, who — after reluctantly becoming Amin's personal physician — is all too quickly seduced by his brilliance and charm.
A taut, tense, darkly suspenseful novel about a man who flees to Africa after his marriage falls apart, only to be caught up in a precarious situation in a seemingly benign village.
“[Hock] knows he is ensorcelled by exoticism, but he cant help himself. And, as things go from bad to worse and the pages start to turn faster, neither can we. A.”—Entertainment Weekly
When he was a young man, Ellis Hock spent four of the best years of his life with the Peace Corps in Malawi. So when his wife of forty-two years leaves him, he decides to return to the village where he was stationed in search of the happiness hed been missing since he left. But what he finds is not what he expected. The school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people.
They remember Ellis and welcome him with open arms. Soon, however, their overtures turn menacing; they demand money and refuse to let him leave the village. Is his new life an escape or a trap?
“Therouxs bravely unsentimental novel about a region where he began his own grand career should become part of anybodys education in the continent.”—Washington Post
“The Lower River is riveting in its storytelling and provocative in its depiction of this African backwater, infusing both with undertones of slavery and cannibalism, savagery and disease.”—New York Times Book Review
Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa. He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. When his wife leaves him, and he is on his own, he realizes that there is one place for him to go: back to his village in Malawi, on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again.
Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: the school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people. They remember him—the White Man with no fear of snakes—and welcome him. But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap?
Interweaving memory and desire, hope and despair, salvation and damnation, this is a hypnotic, compelling, and brilliant return to a terrain about which no one has ever written better than Theroux.
About the Author
Giles Foden lives in London.
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