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The Old Drift: A Novel (2019)

av Namwali Serpell

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6812234,056 (3.55)27
Fiction. Literature. HTML:??A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.???Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times ? The New York Times Book ReviewTime ? NPR ? The AtlanticBuzzFeedTordotcom ? Kirkus Reviews ? BookPage
WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award ? The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award ? The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction ? The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives??their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes??emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.
From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.
 
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize ? Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
??An intimate, brainy, gleaming epic . . . This is a dazzling book, as ambitious as any first novel published this decade.???Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
??A founding epic in the vein of Virgil??s Aeneid . . . though in its sprawling size, its flavor of picaresque comedy and its fusion of family lore with national politics it more resembles Salman Rushdie??s Midnight??s Children.???The Wall Street Journal
 
??A story that intertwines strangers into families, which we'll follow for a century,
… (mer)
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» Se även 27 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 22 (nästa | visa alla)
DNFing this one... For now? I don't think this is a bad book but it is just... Dense. And, quite honestly I don't think I'm in the right mindset for it at the moment. May come back to this at some point.
  escapinginpaper | May 18, 2024 |
I must be getting cranky in old age and should cut down my reading of fiction. I generally ask so little of an author: take me to a world I haven’t been before and make me glad I came.

I can’t unequivocally say that about Namwali Serpell’s “The Old Drift.”

There is much to like and admire in Serpell’s saga about a family and the travails of the Zambian nation, but by the end of it there were too many question marks, magical sideshows, and wish fulfillment that I wasn’t entirely glad I came for the ride.

Moreover, the poverty and glumness of the human landscape were awfully trying.

There are certainly portraits of poverty, domestic violence, of philandering men, absconding fathers, and corrupt nations that ought to be read if not in this book, then some others. I acknowledge my need to upgrade my knowledge of Africa.

I’m not going to argue that colonialism wasn’t a plague on many of Africa’s nations, but this story doesn’t help me understand what is its long term meaning for African peoples. The Europeans were brutal to Africans. But Africans can be brutal to Africans and Europeans can be brutal to Europeans. So what else is new?

I found the novel episodic. I never understood the significance of the child with a hair growing disorder, and it took me a while to figure out why her mother’s employers were using her as amusement at decadent parties; and it took me even longer to realize the parties were in Italy and not Africa, where the novel opens.

Some of the sub-plots, for me anyway, are left hanging. A man murders his brother and steals his identity. That’s it. A clinic furthers the search for an AIDS vaccine. The clinic is surreptitiously burned to the ground. A doctor’s son continues his dad’s work but the reader is left wondering what happened to the work exactly.

A damn is constructed at the beginning of the book to deliver electricity to the extractive industries along the Zambezi River. Descendants of the originators of the dam return to it but exactly why is a little sketchy.

I didn’t quite get the climax, who wins and who loses. What exactly are people protesting: ancient history or the contemporary data-driven world we live in. I kinda think facebook and Google were the villains by the end of the book but even this is cloaked in innuendo.

There was something about the American-Chinese-international high tech conspiracy that left me a little confused. As if there were a new colonialism at work. The metaphor just didn’t hold water for me.

Because I am older I am looking for plausible behaviour in the characters. In this novel I find much of the behaviour as so obtuse I simple cannot identify with it on any level beyond that of juvenile, including that of the adults.

Not even if it were the most ingenious magical realism.

The acknowledgements at the end of the novel indicate a lot of writing workshops and mentors, but the novel was not ready for publication in my opinion. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
Engaging historical fiction that follows three generations from three families while artfully weaving in the history of Zambia. The final near-future section wasn't as successful but it was still an enjoyable read overall. ( )
  mmcrawford | Dec 5, 2023 |
https://fromtheheartofeurope.eu/the-old-drift-by-namwali-serpell/

I thought The Old Drift was tremendous. It’s mostly about the interlinking lives of three families in Zambia, mostly in Lusaka but starting at the Victoria Falls, over the decades from the early twentieth century to the very near future, in a timeline that diverges slight from ours in terms of technology. I don’t think I’d ever read anything much about Zambia before, and this really conveyed the spirit of a young and also old country, with European and Asian inputs to an African culture. It’s quite a tech-oriented story as well, but the core is the vividly imagined relationships and environment of the characters, with different points of view sympathetically given. It stretched my mind in an unexpected way. Recommended. ( )
  nwhyte | Jul 13, 2023 |
I wanted to like this book. I have been fascinated by Rhodesia/Zambia/Zimbabwe since reading Doris Lessing's books 50 years ago. The thread of the book is the history of Zambia, not the characters. Although there are some intersections of characters there is no continuity between the stories. I read every word for about 1/3 then started skipping parts that bored me then quit at about 2/3. ( )
  CharleySweet | Jul 2, 2023 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Namwali Serpellprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Andoh, AdjoaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Grant, Richard E.Berättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Holdbrook-Smith, KobnaBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Kai and SunnyOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:??A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.???Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times ? The New York Times Book ReviewTime ? NPR ? The AtlanticBuzzFeedTordotcom ? Kirkus Reviews ? BookPage
WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award ? The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award ? The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction ? The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives??their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes??emerge through a panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction.
From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines, this gripping, unforgettable novel is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.
 
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Ray Bradbury Prize ? Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
??An intimate, brainy, gleaming epic . . . This is a dazzling book, as ambitious as any first novel published this decade.???Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
??A founding epic in the vein of Virgil??s Aeneid . . . though in its sprawling size, its flavor of picaresque comedy and its fusion of family lore with national politics it more resembles Salman Rushdie??s Midnight??s Children.???The Wall Street Journal
 
??A story that intertwines strangers into families, which we'll follow for a century,

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