Synopses & Reviews
In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across East Africa. In charge of hundreds of Indian laborers, he soon finds himself the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in almost nightly attacks on their camp. Plagued by fear, wracked with malaria and alienated by a secret he can tell no one, he takes increasing solace in the company of the African who helps him hunt. In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotonist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she closely shadows a family of gorillas, the last of their group to survive the encroachment of local poachers. Max bears a striking gift for understanding the ape's non-verbal communication, but their precarious solidarity is threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.
"Deftly weaving the forays of two individuals, separated by a century, into the unknown heart of Africa, Schulman's fourth novel, her first in 11 years, tracks an engineer named Jeremy, who in 1889 accepts a contract to supervise the construction of a bridge in British-controlled East Africa, and female botanist Max Tombay, who travels to modern-day Rwanda at the behest of a pharmaceutical company in search of the next blockbuster drug. Though Max treads undaunted into gorilla territory, the threat posed by child soldiers makes her wonder if her search is worth it. Jeremy feels Africa's pull in a more personal way; he's an outcast in his Maine town and dreads a life spent at the side of his disapproving widowed mother. Sympathetic to her two loners while accepting their faults, Schulman (A House Named Brazil) nudges her characters into their fears in order to measure their reactions, but her greatest asset is her cultural sensitivity. Finding the lonely orphan in an armed child or the playful cat within a man-eating lion, she yields her story's mysteries slowly, with evident relish. Agent: Richard Parks, the Richard Parks Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Audrey Schulman is the author of three previous novels: Swimming With Jonah, The Cage and A House Named Brazil. Her work has been translated into eleven languages. Born in Montreal, Schulman now lives in Massachusetts.