Motivations to read

April 19, 2015

Of land and spirits – Alan Thrush

Filed under: Uncategorized — shirishag75 @ 5:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This is a shortish review of a book I recently read ‘Of land and spirits’ by Alan Thrush.

I apologize for the long delay between the last books and these. It isn’t as if I had stopped reading books but most of the books I have read were light and comfy, books which you could finish in one reading or more, a page-turner but other than nothing substantial. Except for ‘Inheritance’ by Chistopher Paolini which is going to be a biased review as have the book multiple times, Most of the books have been okish.

So let’s turn our attention to this book. The book is based on real situations which happened in Zimbabwe (previously called Rhodesia) from 1975 to 1979. While I don’t know the claim that is on the cover of the book which says it was 6 months on the South African bestseller list, I can share that it was not an easy book to read.Sitting in a peaceful environment where the reviewer has not seen even a murder or any sort of violence it is hard to imagine the atrocities which people do and can inflict on one another. The constant fear, weariness and breaking of values/ethics seem as real as it were happening right in front of me. While Andrew, the ‘hero’ and main protagonist in the story seems to escape with his overall values intact, the rest of people in his group seem pretty one-dimensional. There had been no other reason given for Kemp’s violentic behaviour other than his resent of being born in lower-middle class while there might have been other motivations too. The same for Robertson, it hasn’t been explained what Robertson the coward he is shown in the novel. If those had been explored then it’s possible that I, as a reader could have identified either as ‘Kemp’ or ‘Robertson’. Also it would have been nice to see how the Africans lived in the bush before the war. So, in short there is much left wanting at the end. I would also have enjoyed if they had covered some of the nature and landscape before the war.

As far as the war itself, it is described in great details, the Operations as well as training. The only thing you realize that in ‘War’ and any pro-longed war there aren’t any real winners. The soldiers who kill and the soldiers who get killed both become victims, the survivors having the guilt of killing the other, as well as all and any horrors they see, thus becoming empty shells of whatever they were. I also wish that there had been more of history after the War. Were people able to find their feet with Mugabe under power. I had to look-up Mr. Mugabe’s wikipedia to find that it seems it’s a sort of demo-dictatorship is there.

You do end up wishing there was more peace in the world but the cynical, skeptical part wins over saying it’s the way it is. At the end, the only apt quote/statement I can say about the book is “One man’s nightmare is another man’s reality” and that certainly fits about the book. Overall not a pleasant book for pleasant times 😦

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