Wednesday, May 30, 2007

When a crockodile eats the sun

book review

.. In When a Crocodile Eats the Sun-- a reference to solar eclipses, the most apocalyptic of African omens -- Peter Godwin, an acclaimed Zimbabwean journalist now living in Manhattan, masterfully weaves the political and the highly personal. An eyewitness account of that cataclysmic time, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun is also a tribute to Godwin's aging parents and a searing exploration of the author's own soul.,,,

the frantic author risks slipping into Zimbabwe on frequent magazine assignments despite his exile status. He finds himself on the front line as Mugabe's murderous, pillaging mobs invade farms and smash agricultural infrastructure. An interview with an opposition candidate evolves into a nightlong ordeal fending off goons. Incognito at a political rally, Peter watches farm workers get selected for "re-education" while sullen armed teenagers prowl the remaining crowd, prodding people to raise fists higher, to cheer louder.

.... Peter, entertaining his parents with an outing to gawk at McMansions being built by political favorites, takes a wrong turn and finds himself on the prohibited dead end street leading to Robert Mugabe's new palace:

"As we round the bend . . . we see that the soldiers have been reinforced by a dozen more. These new ones carry machine guns, and the brass bullets in their bandoliers shimmer with menace as they catch the sun. At least ten weapons are now pointed directly at us....

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