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Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah
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Out of Darkness, Shining Light

A Novel

$22.99 USD

Get for $14.99 with membership
Length 10 hours 6 minutes
Language English
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“Engrossing, beautiful, and deeply imaginative” (Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing), this epic novel about the explorer David Livingstone and the extraordinary group of Africans who carry his body across impossible terrain “illuminates the agonies of colonialism and blind loyalty” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

This is how we carried out of Africa the poor broken body of...David Livingstone, so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own land.

So begins Petina Gappah’s “searing…poignant” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis) novel of exploration and adventure in 19th-century Africa—the captivating story of the African men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone’s body, papers, and maps, fifteen hundred miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there. Narrated by Halima, the doctor’s sharp-tongued cook, and Jacob Wainwright, his rigidly pious secretary, this is a “powerful novel, beautifully told” (Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing) that encompasses all of the hypocrisy of slavery and colonization—the hypocrisy of humanity—while celebrating resilience, loyalty, and love.

Petina Gappah is a widely translated Zimbabwean writer. She is the author of two novels, Out of Darkness, Shining Light; The Book of Memory; and two short story collections, Rotten Row and An Elegy for Easterly. Her work has been short-listed for the Orwell Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Open Book Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and the Prix Femina (etranger), among other honors. She is the recipient of the Guardian First Book Award and the McKitterick Prize from the Society of Authors. A lawyer specializing in international trade and investment as well as a writer, Petina currently lives in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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Reviews

"Narrators Nyasha Hatendi and Sibongile Mlambo create a rich vocal tapestry for this historical novel. We trace the journey of Africans who are carrying explorer David Livingstone's body across the continent in order to return it to England for burial. Hatendi and Mlambo alternate between the main characters, Jacob and Halima, who make the perilous trip with a retinue of 69 men, women, and children. They bring front and center the brave Africans who worked to accomplish the impossible, traversing hostile territories in memory of someone they came to respect, admire, and love. As Jacob, Hatendi speaks with the confidence of an orator, infusing the character with dignity not readily given to colonial subjects. Mlambo brings out Halima's spiritedness, which is unexpected from an African woman of that time." Expand reviews