Synopses & Reviews
"It's my life, and if I want to run from it I can", quips Tanya Shaffer. An incorrigible wanderer, Shaffer has a habit of fleeing domesticity for the joys and rigors of the open road. This time her destination is Ghana, and what results is a transformative year spent roaming the African continent. Eager to transcend the limitations of tourism, Shaffer works as a volunteer, building schools and hospitals in remote villages. At the heart of her tale are the profound, complex, often challenging relationships she forms with those she meets along the way. Whether recounting a perilous boat trip to Timbuktu, a night of impassioned political debate in Ghana, or a fumbled romance in Burkina Faso, Shaffer portrays the collision of African and North American cultures with self-deprecating humor and clear-eyed compassion. Filled with warmth, candor, and an exuberant sense of adventure, Somebody's Heart is Burning raises provocative questions about privilege, wealth, and the true meaning of friendship.
A chronicle of the transformative year that Shaffer spent roaming the African continent and of the people and culture she encountered.
From seasoned storyteller and award-winning performance artist Shaffer comes a uniquely insightful account of a year spent in Africa, relating the challenges of cultural difference with self-deprecating irony and clear-eyed compassion.
About the Author
Tanya Shaffer has spent time helping human rights groups in Guatemala, picking coffee in Nicaragua, and even digging ditches in the Czech Republic. She lives in San Francisco. Tanya first wrote about her experiences in Africa in the "Wanderlust" section of Salon.com where her articles were extremely well-received and popular. Many of those pieces have been reprinted in anthologies and some have been incorporated into Somebody’s Heart Is Burning. The chapter in the book called "Sand Angels" served as the basis for a one-woman stage production entitled Let My Enemy Live Long! which she has performed to critical acclaim in over 40 cities during the last three years. The show won the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for solo performance and ran in San Francisco for more than six months, before moving on to Seattle and other West Coast venues, including a month-long run in San Diego in February of this year. She is working now to bring the show to New York City.