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BOOK REVIEW: THE EYE OF THE LEOPARD
BY HENNING MANKELL

We hope you enjoy this book review by Patricia Reid.

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The Eye of the Leopard is a book that will stay with you to ponder long after you have read the last page. The life of Hans Olafson, both in Sweden and later in Africa, is one to be envied as well as pitied. Hans lived with his father in Sweden and suffered through his fatherís drunken bouts. His good friend Janine he treated with both love and scorn. His best friend leaves him due to an accident that haunts Hans. His decision to leave Sweden and follow the goal of his friend Janine in Africa was made without a lot of thought but the months in Africa turned into years.

Hans meets a white couple when he arrives in Africa and through this couple he meets a woman who is running an egg farm who is need of a manager. Hans agrees but insists that it will only be temporary. His temporary position as manager of the egg farm in Zambia, South Africa eventually leads to his ownership of the farm. He finds himself in charge of 200 workers and at the mercy of the local authorities since he has no permanent legal status in Africa. The efforts that he makes to improve the well being of his workers are for the most part fruitless. He cannot turn an African away from the ways that he grew up with anymore than he can suddenly adopt the African way.

The author describes life in Africa in such a way that you almost feel you are there with Hans, locking the doors every night and listening to the dogs turned lose to guard their owner. As violence breaks out around the area Hans begins to fear for his own life and cannot decide who to trust.

The differences between life in Sweden and life in Africa are startling different and Hans cannot decide where he really belongs. He has women in his life but no lasting love or commitment. He has no family left. His friends begin to disappear. The Eye of the Leopard is a sad book but well worth reading.

REVIEWED BY PATRICIA REID

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, PATRICIA REID


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