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Book Reviews

Among The Jacaranda: Buds of Matata in Kenya

Volume 15, Issue 2  | 
Published 18/11/2018
  |

A Novel Based on Real Events, 

 

Author: Braz Menezes

Publ: Matata Books, Toronto, 2018,

ISBN-13: 978-1724274847 (USA);

SBN: 978-0-9877963-7-0, Paperback (Canada).

Reviewer: Gerhard A Fuerst

This is the long anticipated sequel to two previous novels by Braz, to complete the trilogy.  It is like a longed-for and missing part of a trip-tic image to complete a painting on one's literary wall. We are being treated to the author's style of taking the reader on another fascinating journey consisting, in fact, of many travels through life in a personal, cultural, historical, and geographic sense.

Lando, who we have had a chance to get to know in considerable detail in the preceding two accounts, has decided to return to London to further his education, and to complete his studies as a future urban planner. He does so with the blessings of his parents, and with a granted scholarship to facilitate the completion of his plans, hopes, and ambitions, and the fulfillment of his dreams.  We are being introduced to his new-found friends, and accompany them on their exciting vacation trips in Europe.

Braz' narrative is fast-paced, and invites the reader to relish all that is being done, seen, heard, taste-tested, explored and discovered: countries, cultures, fine food and drink, good people, occasional crafty schemers, the exciting sights and sounds of history, diverse geography, fascinating flora and fauna.  Lando meets and falls in love with Eleanor, a fellow student. They share personal interests, travels, adventures, learn to solve problems and face challenges together. They become a couple, bringing together diverse families of different cultural origins in two countries on two continents. Let me not give away all the delightful details and secrets in this brief review...

Lando and Eleanor move from the UK to Kenya, to establish themselves, and to adjust to the demands and conditions of life in a newly independent country, with a traumatic history, and a very complex multi-cultural setting which is not without conflicts and in part also with tragic consequences. Lando and Eleanor welcome Alice Emily into their family. Lando attempts to establish himself as an architect in his own right, and is hopeful for a successful future in a new and very competitive economy.

Braz weaves a fascinating literary fabric which combines the colorful threads of race and ethnicity, language, religious differences, and cultural traditions. He builds bridges between Goa on the Indian subcontinent, the land of his ethnic, religious, and cultural ancestry, and Kenya as a British colony and subsequently as a struggling independent nation with incredible political challenges, and not infrequent turmoil. Braz also fashions various historical, geographic and personal links to England and Europe in a style of writing which is simply fascinating.

It is a book I found difficult to put down for even a momentary pause to fetch another cup of coffee...  I recommend it highly, and it even foreshadows the possibility and prospect that this literary trilogy might in due course welcome a literary sibling to form a quartet. I can hardly wait!  I am certain that it also promises to be great!

Last modified on Sunday, 18 November 2018 21:47

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