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To Asmara
Keneally, Thomas.
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New York : Warner Books, [1989]

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This national bestseller by the highly-acclaimed author of "Schindler's List" tells the deeply moving and spellbinding story of an alienated Australian journalist's soul-searching journey across a war-torn Africa.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Subtitled ``A Novel of Africa,'' this impassioned new work by the Australian author of Schindler's List straddles the boundary between fiction and reportage so adeptly that it almost deserves a category of its own. When journalist Timothy Darcy sees a rock star's TV appeal for still more Ethiopian famine aid, desperately needed because Eritrean rebels ambushed the first grain shipments that were sent, he decides to venture into the heart of Eritrea to write about its 25-year struggle for independence. Accompanying him into ``the hunger zone'' are an American aid worker, an aged British feminist seeking reforms in the treatment of African women, and a young Frenchwoman searching for her father, a cameraman who disappeared into Eritrea years before to become a diarist of their struggle. While Keneally makes each of their quests compelling, his real concern is with the natives of Eritrea and Ethiopia. His extensively researched depiction captures the drama of oppression, but much more as well: humor, political ironies, cultural chasms, the arid grandeur of the land, and the exhaustion and resolve that come from fighting, constantly, to survive in a world hostile to human needs. Major ad/promo. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

During the Ethiopian famine, a food convoy was destroyed by Eritrean rebels. The rebels, ignored by the press for decades, earned global infamy in 45 seconds of news coverage. Keneally's courageous attempt to investigate the Eritrean side of the story provided the material for this novel. Authored by the highly talented Keneally, it could have been one of the most important books of the decade. But narrator Darcy gives a journalist's account that, too often, employs understatement to convey suffering. He interrupts the story to explain in self-pitying fashion why his wife left him; it seems that Darcy, a man of convictions, has come to see that bold actions--a betrayal and an assault on an airstrip--are motivated not by politics but by the devotion of men of action to their women. Darcy's companions, zombie-like Christine, cynical Henry, and feminist Julia, are one-note creations. Finally, we're never convinced that the Eritreans aren't using Darcy to portray Ethiopian barbarities while hiding barbarities of their own. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/89.-- Frank Pisano, Pennsylvania State Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.